Email Scams – Ten Simple Steps To Protecting Your Online Finances
According to the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) email scams also known as phishing attacks claim more than 2,000 victims each day from more than 75 million phishing emails that are sent each day. The APWG also claims that these email scams steal close to $1 billion a year from its victims.
Phishing (pronounced fishing), is online identity theft that uses spoof emails, fraudulent websites and crimeware to trick unsuspecting internet users into providing financial data, credit card numbers, social security numbers, account logins and passwords, etc.
These email scams (spoof email) mimic legitimate companies such as banks, credit card companies, investing companies, paypal, ebay, etc. These fraudulent emails look like they are from the “real” company; many even include the real company’s logo. Generally these emails try to convey a sense of urgency; if you don’t correct this problem your account will be suspended.
The spoof email may state that there is a problem with your account and if you do not log in and update your information your account may be suspended, restricted, terminated, or something similar. They may also request user name, passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers, etc.
Protecting yourself against phishing and email scams.
1. Do not give out personal or financial information through an email request.
2. Always log on to your sensitive accounts by opening a new browser and typing the actual URL directly into the address bar. For example, if you receive a suspected phishing email from ebay, open a new browser and type “www.ebay.com” in the browser bar.
3. Do not click on any link in a suspected phishing email.
4. Do not open any attachments in a suspected email scam.
5. Only use a secure website to submit sensitive data. A secure sites’ address will begin with https:// instead of http://
6. Check the activity of your online accounts regularly and check for fraudulent activity.
7. Make sure your browser is up to date and all security patches are installed.
8. Report phishing and spoof email to: firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com, and forward the email to the company that is being spoofed.
9. Keep your PC protected with updated anti-virus software, anti-spyware software, and a firewall.
10. You may want to install an anti-phishing toolbar such as Earthlink ScamBlocker which alerts you before you visit a known fraudulent website. It’s free and can be downloaded at http://www.earthlink.net/earthlinktoolbar
As email scams are on the rise and with the consequences being identity theft, it is important that you increase your awareness and learn to protect yourself from these fraudulent attacks. With more than 75 million phishing emails being sent every day it’s only a matter of time before you receive one. By following the above tips you will protect yourself from many email scams and the possible financial consequences.
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