Summer has arrived all around the northern hemisphere. Many of us prefer to jump up and head outside to enjoy the spoils of the season and that is certainly fantastic. However, scammers don’t honor the seasons. They will try to trick us with their own version of phishing all year round. As we go into relaxation mode, it’s still important to keep an eye out for attempted scams and particularly for the phishing that doesn’t involve a pole, a boat or water.

Phishing is still the most common way, by far, that information is stolen and malware makes its way onto computers and mobile devices. It’s worth taking a moment to review the signs that an email message or phone call may be phishing for your information.

  • A reward is offered, such as a gift card or some other freebie.
  • There is a sense of urgency, such as an account will be blocked or a punishment will occur if you don’t do something.
  • An attachment or link is included in an email that is unexpected or from an unfamiliar sender.

There is a request to open a file, click a link, or share something. If a form follows a click that asks for information to be entered or login credentials to be entered, it should be considered suspect.

  • The greeting and message are generic. If it doesn’t have a
    ny indication that the sender knows something personally about you, it could be a scam.
  • The sender’s email address is strange or unfamiliar. If you open it up by clicking it, you can see the entire address; not just the name.
  • If a link inside goes to a web address that seems strange or unexpected. If you hover the mouse pointer over those links, you can see where it will take you.
  • A website asks for sensitive information, regardless of how you arrived at it, and the address isn’t preceded by “https:”
  • The caller on the phone starts asking for sensitive information such as passwords, login credentials, or payment card information.
  • A caller tries to scare you into providing or doing something.

Even if none of these indicators are present, it’s not a guarantee that the message is phishing. However, the risk is significantly lower.

It’s unlikely anyone will give up the Internet for the summer, nor is it expected. So just be sure to stay on your game for spotting phishing, so you don’t take the bait.

Donovan B. Fox © Copyright 2017 SDFCU.org