How To Avoid Falling Hook, Line & Sinker For ‘Phishing’ Emails

phishing imageYou can never be too vigilant when it comes to email safety.

That’s why we wanted to share 7 simple email tips from top tech and security experts to help keep you safe from a malicious ‘phishing’ expedition.

If you’re not familiar with the term, ‘phishing’ emails are fake or deceptive emails sent by cybercriminals who are fishing for victims.

“These fraudulent emails, which may appear to come from a legitimate company or even a personal acquaintance, are designed to trick people into giving up personal information, such as credit card and social security numbers,” says Carbonite – an online backup and cloud services company.

So before you click on or respond to an email, take a look at these expert tips below to make sure you’re not falling for a ‘phishing’ expedition.

7 Expert Tips to Help you Spot a Phishing Email:

1.  Does the message ask for personal information?
“Be wary of emails asking for confidential information – especially information of a financial nature. Legitimate organizations will never request sensitive information via email,” says anti-virus software expert Norton.

2. Does the offer seem too good to be real?
“If it seems too good to be true, it’s a fake. Beware of emails offering big rewards – vacations, cash prizes, etc. – for little effort,” warns Carbonite.

3. Does the salutation look odd?
Reputable companies will usually use your name in the salutation – as opposed to “valued customer” or “to whom it may concern.”

4. Need to verify who the email is really from?
You should never respond to any emails that request personal or financial information, especially ones that use pressure tactics or prey on fear, say federal regulators at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). “If you have reason to believe that a financial institution actually does need personal information from you,” they caution, “pick up the phone and call the company yourself — using the number in your rolodex, not the one the email provides!”

5. Does the email have mismatched URLs?
“If you receive an email from an organization that includes an HTML link in it, hover your mouse over the link without clicking and you should see the full URL appear. If the URL does not include the organization’s exact name, or if it looks suspicious in any other way, delete it because it’s probably a phishing email,” say the experts at Carbonite.

6. Are your electronic devices current with software updates?
“Security is a moving target, with new threats and vulnerabilities occurring at a rapid pace, so ensuring that patches and updates are applied on a regular basis is absolutely essential,” advise the experts at CIO.com.

7. Is something making you suspicious?
“Even if a message or a letter came from one of your best friends, remember that they could also have been fooled or hacked,” warn experts at Kaspersky Labs. “That’s why you should remain cautious in any situation. Even if a message seems friendly, treat links and attachments with suspicion.”

About Mari Adam

Mari Adam, Certified Financial Planner™ and President of Adam Financial Associates Inc, has been helping individuals and families chart their financial futures for over twenty-five years. Have a question about your financial situation? Ask Mari!

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