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Online phishing scams

As technology continues to advance and the internet continues to expand, cybercriminals desire to obtain your personal information grows. Hackers will use various techniques when trying to extract details from unsuspecting people, as a way to gain access to their accounts. The most widely used hacking technique is called phishing. Phishers will stop at nothing to obtain the information they need to access your accounts.

What is phishing?

Hackers are always finding ways of obtaining people's personal information, usernames, passwords and credit card details. One way phishers try to gain this information is by posing as a reliable company or person in emails, texts or direct messages. They will send some form of communication asking for verification, information updates, financial updates or even just try to get you to navigate to a provided link. The information they try to obtain is related to an existing account, recent purchases, anticipated refunds and any other information that will help them gain access to your accounts. A phisher will also use links that can extract sensitive information or install malware onto your device. These cybercriminals will go to extreme lengths to obtain information from you. Some of them will even create replica commercial websites to fool people into believing the communication they received is legitimate.

Protect yourself from phishing

Being able to protect yourself from phishing attempts is important in keeping your accounts and personal information secure. There are different ways you can better protect yourself from phishing:

  • When you receive a suspicious looking email, don’t open it. Instead call the sender to confirm its legitimacy.
  • Refrain from providing extremely sensitive information in emails. This includes credit card information, social security numbers and any other financial information.
  • Be sure to review your online credit card and bank account transactions for unauthorized charges regularly. It is recommended that your transactions are checked at least once a month.
  • If you have already opened a suspicious email or receive a suspicious pop-up, do not click any of the links in them. Once confirming your suspicion be sure to flag the email for your email provider to look into or mark the email as spam.
  • Use an antivirus and spyware detection software like Norton Security to help keep your devices and accounts safe from malicious programs. Your antivirus and spyware detection software must be updated to the most recent version at all times.
  • If you receive an email with a link navigating you to another site, it would be best to not use it. Simply navigate to the site manually to avoid the possibility of accidentally using a compromising link. This is especially important when dealing with financial institution websites or other websites with sensitive billing information.