Community Computer Security

Published on June 22nd, 2017 | by Kevin Zhao

Don’t Be Hooked by the Bait of Online Phishing.

Phishing is an online scam designed to trick users into divulging personal information through emails, instant messaging, phone calls and fake websites for financial fraud or identity theft. Phishers use a variety of ways to bait unsuspecting users into clicking false links or claiming you won a contest. Think about it – have you ever received an email that included an urgent reason for you to click on a link, which took you to a fake website? That’s phishing. Hence the term phishing sounds like fishing – the fraudster uses the bait of a contest or something else to gain personal information from the user. Phishing is illegal and it’s no joke. It can impact both your private life and affect you at work. To keep you safe and protected, follow these tips to avoid becoming a victim of phishing scams.

How to Stay Protected On the Web:

  • Never disclose personal information.
    Do not disclose information like bank accounts, credit cards, financial figures, passwords, your SIN or driver’s license numbers to any business that is unable to prove their legitimacy.
  • Use security features.
    Set up two-step authentication or multiple approval rules on all accounts where possible.
  • Think before you respond.
    Look over the email and see if the information they ask of you would be something that should  disclose over the Internet.
  • Be alert.
    Pay attention to the content when you receive unsolicited calls, emails and mailings that offer anything from international funds, free vacations or credit repair to unlimited income potential. If in doubt, hang up the phone, delete the email you received or shut off your Internet connection.
  • Destroy documents accordingly.
    When throwing away documents, make sure that they do not have your name on them or any personal information that could be important.
  • Check for secured sites.
    Make sure that the lock icon is on your browser when entering confidential information. The link should start with “https” if it is legitimate.
  • Never share your security devices.
    Keep your client and business client cards, tokens and other security devices in a safe place and do not reveal to anyone your card numbers, PINs, IDs, passwords or token values.
  • Verify legitimacy of any instructions for making payments included in an email.
    Always take additional steps to be certain of payment instructions. This can include confirming invoices with your suppliers through a different channel. For example, if you are contacted by email, it would be good practice to call the supplier to confirm using their known contact information.

Despite all the precautions you might take, there is still a chance that you will fall victim to phishing and identity theft. If you aren’t protected and fall victim to phishing, report the incident to your local police department immediately and file a report. Afterwards, make sure to contact your bank to notify them that there is a chance your information was stolen. Always remember to stay alert, stay protected and inform others about the risk of phishing.

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