Tips to Avoid Phishing Scams

With the holiday season upon us, phishing scams will be in full swing. Phishing scams are online attacks via email or instant messaging by hackers attempting to gain information such as usernames, passwords, or credit card information. Thankfully, there are some simple ways to avoid falling prone to these common cybercrimes. 

In order to best protect yourself from these attacks, it is best to avoid opening the email altogether. Use your best caution when opening any suspicious emails, and never reply to one that asks for username or password information. Why would you give out your username and password to someone you don’t even know? Don’t click on links directly in emails – type the web address into a separate window. If you do find yourself using another site, the “lock” icon in the corner of the address bar can help you confirm your information is secure. If the lock is closed and lit green, your information is secure. If the lock is open and lit yellow or red, it is advisable not to enter any personal information, as it is not completely protected. 

Should you find one of your accounts compromised by a cyber-attack, change your password immediately. Watch for any suspicious activity on your account, and if it was a banking account threatened, or one that has been connected to a credit card, let your bank know to watch for any suspect activity on your cards or in your account. 

For an added boost of security, change your passwords regularly, and make them hard to guess. Don’t make a password something common, like a family pet’s name, your mother’s maiden name, or your birthday. Utilizing a unique password with a combination of capitals, numbers, and special characters can become your first line of defense to prevent phishing attacks.

About the Author

Tyler Thurston is an e-newsletter editor for 1105 Media.

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