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What is Phishing and How To Avoid Being a Victim

There is no doubt that identity theft is a growing problem in the United States and worldwide. It is wise to educate ourselves to avoid being a victim of this often devastating crime. It seems that criminals are using increasingly ingenious methods to gain access to our private and valuable personal information and computer users must be aware of criminal information gathering techniques known as phishing. You may have heard about phishing scams in the news recently because so many have fallen prey to this clever methodology employed by tech savvy criminals. We are all busy in today’s fast paced world and it’s hard to keep up with every new threat and development so the purpose of this article is to describe what phishing is, and how you can avoid being a victim. Phishing attacks employ social engineering and technical subterfuge in the attempt to obtain an individual’s personal identity data and financial account information. Social- engineering schemes use fraudulent e-mails which attempt to direct consumers to counterfeit websites, often perfectly replicating legitimate business sites to trick recipients into releasing financial data such as credit card numbers, account passwords, user names and social security numbers. Hijacking brand names of banks, online retailers and credit card companies, phishers regularly obtain this private data. Technical subterfuge schemes usually plant spyware and crimeware onto user computers to access personal data directly, most often utilizing Trojan keylogger spyware. What can we do to avoid such clever deceptions? First of all just knowing that the threat exists is very important and many victims report that they had never heard of phishing before becoming a victims. In addition there are several practical precautions we can all take to minimize our exposure to risk. 1. Be wary of any email containing urgent requests for financial information suggesting your immediate response is required, statements designed to upset and excite the respondent are often included to elicit a quick reply. These emails often demand user names and passwords as well as SSN’s. Legitimate businesses never ask for confidential data via email and none of this information should ever be sent by email as security is severely compromised. 2. If you question the authenticity of an email don’t use the links embedded in the email to access the company webpage, instead type the URL of the company in your browser to insure you are looking at the legitimate website. You can also phone the company to insure an email request is authentic and companies today are aware of phishing threats and will generally appreciate being informed of a potential problem. Email threats can look completely authentic with a spoofed email address, so also be sure to look at the full header of the email to help determine if it is a fake. 3. Financial information should only be communicated through a secure website or by telephone and never by an email request. Secure websites always have the https:// preceding the web address rather than just http:// in the browser address window. Call your financial organization if you are unsure of their exact website address, as fake websites can also appear in the search engines besides a phishing link. 4. Check your online accounts on a regular basis even if you have no transactions. Dormant and unused accounts are common targets for online predators. Carefully review your credit card statements for unauthorized transactions and make sure you shred or carefully burn them if not retained for your records. 5. Make sure your browser (s), programs, and operating system are updated regularly with the latest security patches. Clean up your system and run scans regularly. Free tools include Ccleaner.com, Malwarebytes ADW Cleaner, and the regular Malwarebytes. Consider purchasing Malwarebytes or a comparable program if you want real-time protection. 6. Beware of strangers on the internet, and use extreme caution if anyone asks you to install any program you are unsure about. Hackers may obtain your ip address or use the program as a backdoor for phishing or hacking, obtain data for theft, identity fraud, or blackmail. 7. Use a VPN to view the internet and at all times if possible. Learn how to turn it on and off as financial sites or work may require your real ip address. 8. After a data breach, hackers may have access to your email and other data and attempt a phishing attack before you are even notified by the company that a data breach or hack occurred. Be on alert always. Large data breaches of major companies, doctors, medical centers, and public offices are frequently in the news reporting customers data exposed or sold on the black market. Watch your credit or purchase an identity theft protection plan. Take these necessary precautions and keep learning how to avoid your exposure to the identity theft problem known as phishing.

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What is Phishing and How To Avoid Being A Victim Data Recovery And Email Backup Clean and Speed up Your Computer with free or low cost tools. Why You Should Use a VPN
© 2021 Skyblupink LLC 905 Margarita Ct. The Villages FL 32159 (352) 840-3412
skyblutech

blog

What is Phishing and How To Avoid

Being a Victim

There is no doubt that identity theft is a growing problem in the United States and worldwide. It is wise to educate ourselves to avoid being a victim of this often devastating crime. It seems that criminals are using increasingly ingenious methods to gain access to our private and valuable personal information and computer users must be aware of criminal information gathering techniques known as phishing. You may have heard about phishing scams in the news recently because so many have fallen prey to this clever methodology employed by tech savvy criminals. We are all busy in today’s fast paced world and it’s hard to keep up with every new threat and development so the purpose of this article is to describe what phishing is, and how you can avoid being a victim. Phishing attacks employ social engineering and technical subterfuge in the attempt to obtain an individual’s personal identity data and financial account information. Social-engineering schemes use fraudulent e-mails which attempt to direct consumers to counterfeit websites, often perfectly replicating legitimate business sites to trick recipients into releasing financial data such as credit card numbers, account passwords, user names and social security numbers. Hijacking brand names of banks, online retailers and credit card companies, phishers regularly obtain this private data. Technical subterfuge schemes usually plant spyware and crimeware onto user computers to access personal data directly, most often utilizing Trojan keylogger spyware. What can we do to avoid such clever deceptions? First of all just knowing that the threat exists is very important and many victims report that they had never heard of phishing before becoming a victims. In addition there are several practical precautions we can all take to minimize our exposure to risk. 1. Be wary of any email containing urgent requests for financial information suggesting your immediate response is required, statements designed to upset and excite the respondent are often included to elicit a quick reply. These emails often demand user names and passwords as well as SSN’s. Legitimate businesses never ask for confidential data via email and none of this information should ever be sent by email as security is severely compromised. 2. If you question the authenticity of an email don’t use the links embedded in the email to access the company webpage, instead type the URL of the company in your browser to insure you are looking at the legitimate website. You can also phone the company to insure an email request is authentic and companies today are aware of phishing threats and will generally appreciate being informed of a potential problem. Email threats can look completely authentic with a spoofed email address, so also be sure to look at the full header of the email to help determine if it is a fake. 3. Financial information should only be communicated through a secure website or by telephone and never by an email request. Secure websites always have the https:// preceding the web address rather than just http:// in the browser address window. Call your financial organization if you are unsure of their exact website address, as fake websites can also appear in the search engines besides a phishing link. 4. Check your online accounts on a regular basis even if you have no transactions. Dormant and unused accounts are common targets for online predators. Carefully review your credit card statements for unauthorized transactions and make sure you shred or carefully burn them if not retained for your records. 5. Make sure your browser (s), programs, and operating system are updated regularly with the latest security patches. Clean up your system and run scans regularly. Free tools include Ccleaner.com, Malwarebytes ADW Cleaner, and the regular Malwarebytes. Consider purchasing Malwarebytes or a comparable program if you want real-time protection. 6. Beware of strangers on the internet, and use extreme caution if anyone asks you to install any program you are unsure about. Hackers may obtain your ip address or use the program as a backdoor for phishing or hacking, obtain data for theft, identity fraud, or blackmail. 7. Use a VPN to view the internet and at all times if possible. Learn how to turn it on and off as financial sites or work may require your real ip address. 8. After a data breach, hackers may have access to your email and other data and attempt a phishing attack before you are even notified by the company that a data breach or hack occurred. Be on alert always. Large data breaches of major companies, doctors, medical centers, and public offices are frequently in the news reporting customers data exposed or sold on the black market. Watch your credit or purchase an identity theft protection plan. Take these necessary precautions and keep learning how to avoid your exposure to the identity theft problem known as phishing.

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