Fishing is for recreation, not finances
We’re (hopefully) at the tail end of the pandemic, our attention is divided, we’re worn out and distracted. Now more than ever, crooks are stepping up their game. Here are some tips to stay above the fray.
If you get an email from a bank, financial institution, or government agency that you did not specifically request: rather than follow a link provided in the email, open a browser window and navigate to the website by typing or using your own bookmarks.
One reason phishing works is that people get a little rattled when seemingly contacted by their bank or the government when they aren’t expecting it. Now your attention is divided. Part of your brain is trying to figure out what’s wrong that you’re being contacted, and you’re more likely to click the link right in front of you than take an extra step.
If the website you arrive at (via link or independent navigation) looks weird: graphics out of date or in the wrong place, jumbled text, spelling or grammar mistakes – STOP. Or if your password manager doesn’t recognize the site – STOP. Password management apps are very good at recognizing slight differences in web addresses and won’t auto-complete if there isn’t an exact match.
In either instance, close the browser window, get the phone number of the organization from a source other than from the message you received, and call the organization. Tell them you got a suspicious email, and you want to confirm whether or not it’s legitimate.
If you accidentally get further and put in your username and password: Close the browser window immediately. Open a new browser window, navigate to the real website via bookmarks, your password manager, or typing in the address. Log in and change your password. If you use the same password on other websites, change the password on all of them. Also take this opportunity to select unique passwords for each login you have. Crooks – or their bots - will often try a combination of username or email address with the one password they’ve captured on a variety of websites, just in case it works. Don’t make their job unnecessarily easy!
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