As online fraud remains a consistent problem for nearly 300,000,000 Americans who use the internet daily, it’s important to stay updated and informed on the newest forms of fraud that are a constant threat to our online security. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns internet users about “phishing” emails, a scam that is becoming an increasing problem and is proving to be very costly for employers. Chubbworks even published an article recently discussing email scams and surveyed how many people had actually received a phishing email themselves, a majority have.
The latest versions of these scams are showing up in the form of emails from trusted organizations such as the BBB or United States Postal Service (USPS). The emails are sent by hackers asking you to submit information or to follow links that gather, or “phish,” for your personal data which may include banking information, usernames, and/or passwords. These emails will oftentimes deliver a nasty virus to your computer system. Once your computer is infected, you become vulnerable to serious potential security risks. So how can you avoid this from happening to you? Here are four things you should know:
- Make sure to pay attention to spelling mistakes and grammatical errors in emails. A fortune 500 company (or any large reputable business) is very unlikely to release an email blast riddled with misspellings.
- Hold your cursor (don’t click) over any suspicious links. This will show you the URL that you are about to click. If the URL doesn’t contain the company name in the first part of the domain [www.company.com], it’s probably a scam.
- For example, if you were to receive an email that looks like it came from the United States Postal Service (USPS) and it asks you to click a link and that link doesn’t start with www.usps.com in the URL, it’s very likely it’s a phishing scam!
- Keep your antivirus software up-to-date. Antivirus software helps to shield your computer from internet threats and those software updates are important because your program should be constantly evolving based on new hacker threats.
- Last and certainly not least, educate your staff. Make sure that they are aware of the caution they need to take when clicking links inside an email. Your staff should understand the potential consequences of getting a computer virus and how it could affect your clients (remember the Target fiasco last Thanksgiving?)
With so much information being stored on the web in today’s business world, it is important to be cautious with your personal data and information. Stay secure, and stay informed, so you don’t take the bait and put yourself at risk!