I know you’ve probably heard of “phishing” emails – they’re emails that look like they come from an organization you may know or do business with, such as a retailer, bank, internet service provider, or the like. And the “bad actors” are getting smarter every day – at first glance, many phishing emails look completely legitimate.
These emails try to trick you into clicking on a link that may ask you for personal information such as passwords or credit card numbers, which the criminals can then use, or possibly infect your computer with a virus or ransomware that might be difficult or expensive to get rid of.
As your financial advisor, I want to be sure that you stay safe online. That’s why I'm sending you a list of some of the common types of suspicious content and how to recognize them, so you’re ready to navigate this tricky new reality.
- Check links by hovering over the them with your cursor, so you can see the name of the link. If the sender appears to be a legitimate business entity, but when you hover over the email address it shows an unrelated name and/or domain, don’t click! Instead, go online and manually type in the business’ address, or call them to see if it’s legit.
- Look carefully for misspellings or things like the substitution of numeral zero (“0”) for the letter “O”.
- Don’t click on attachments that contain an “executable” extension type such as .bat, .js, .exe, etc. In fact, you shouldn’t click on attachments at all!
- Be wary if the email implies you can avoid a negative consequence or gain something of value if you click on a link.
- Don’t believe emails that offer cheap pharmaceuticals, an inheritance, or romantic connections, for example. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
The best single piece of advice I have is, “If you can’t confirm it, don’t click it!” This is a good time to remind you that I am not permitted to do business by email.
Simply taking a couple of seconds to look carefully at emails you don’t recognize, or are not expecting, can help you avoid the consequences of phishing and fraudulent messages that are trying to compromise the safety of your identity online.
Please feel free to reach out to me if you’d like more information about staying safe online.