It’s Ph(F)ebruary! The perfect time to learn all you need to know to avoid the incessant phishing scams that infest the Internet. Just as there are so many things going on every day in the cyberspace, and new and exciting ways of communicating with the world emerge all the time, phishers find a way to be present everywhere too. From e-mail and social networking sites to online games, dating websites and apps, you might come across a scam, and because cybercriminals have become so good at making them, sometimes phishing scams can appear so real that you might easily fall for them.
However, there is no need to panic! There are still ways you can avoid falling for these traps, although of course the most important thing to do is be very careful and pay attention responsibly to everything you see online before you click it or enter any sensitive information about you (or anyone else for that matter). Here are some tips to follow:
- Do not respond to a request for your password sent by e-mail, even if the request appears legitimate.
- Do not provide identity information, including credit card numbers, when you receive an unsolicited e-mail or phone call.
- Do not open attachments in unexpected or suspicious e-mails or instant messages.
- If the e-mail or instant message provides a link to a site where you are requested to enter personal information, it may be a phish.
- Make sure links are really taking you where they say they are before you click. You just have to move your mouse over the link, and if it shows you different address than the one displayed in the e-mail it is a phish.
- Be suspicious of any type of communication (e-mail, post on social media site, text message, etc.) that urges you to do something like provide personal information or click somewhere.
- Look for signs in e-mails like grammar mistakes.
- Make sure the security certificate is displayed on a website by double-clicking the “lock” icon. If it isn’t or you get a warning message that it does not match the address, it’s better to get out of this website.
- Although normally phishing emails are not personalized, they can be. So if it looks suspicious it’s always smart to confirm with the company directly to make sure the email is in fact from them.
- Enable site checking on your browser.
- Add an anti-phishing toolbar to your browser. Anti-phishing toolbars help detect and may block known phishing sites. ITS is providing McAfee anti-phishing tools to ePO-managed users.
You can also find more tips and information by going to Best Practices>Phishing (http://www.rit.edu/security/content/phishing).
Since we’re all human, at some point we could inevitably fall for a phishing scam. Stay Safe Online has shared some things you can do to control the damage it may inflict you if you do:
- Beware of any unauthorized charges to any of your accounts
- If you think your financial accounts could be compromised, contact your financial institution immediately and ask them to close the accounts for you.
- Consider reporting it to the local police department, the Federal Trade Commission (https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1) or the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx).
We are going to be talking about phishing all month long in all of our social media gadgets, keep up for more useful information about #PhebruaryPhishing. And remember if you receive a phish, report it by emailing email@example.com. You can forward phishing attempts to this email.
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