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How to foil phishing scams

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Social media is a malicious hacker’s playground. Cybercriminals want your personal information and continue to find new ways to gain access. So, if you’re going to stop a phishing expedition, it’s a matter of knowing what to look for.

About phishing

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Hackers up to no good often try to acquire your sensitive information by exploiting gaps in your technology savvy. A hacker might pose as someone you know or a legitimate entity and tempt you to engage in something fun, like a Facebook quiz or game with questions. Do the questions sound familiar? For example: · What is your mother’s middle name? · What high school did you attend? · What is the name of the street you grew up on? These are common kinds of security questions your bank or credit card provider might ask. It would be best if you were skeptical when they turn up on Facebook or some other social media site.

Email issues

Even if you do not have a social media account, cybercriminals have a chance to attack through email. You might receive a message requesting that you click on a link to redeem a prize. A hacker might also try to get through to you through a sense of urgency, warning you that your bank account has been compromised and asking for your password.

 What to do

Here are some steps you can take to foil email phishing scams:  Check the sender: Who sent the message? Have you had contact with the person or organization before? · Take it slow: Cybercriminals depend on a panicky reaction to their urgent message. Don’t be in a rush to act. Consider whether the message makes sense. · Look at the way the messages is written: Are there misspellings? Too much space between words? Inconsistencies should raise red flags in your mind. · Report or block spam: Don’t hesitate to report a suspicious email.

Be safer on social media

Here are suggestions to help you have a safer social media experience: · Careful with quizzes and games: Look at the source. Who created the game or quiz? · Adjust your privacy settings: Remove any information you share, such as a home address. · Do not answer common security questions: Avoid answering questions about your parents, best friend, favorite foods, name of your high school, etc. · Be careful of friend requests: It is best not to accept a friend request from someone you don’t know.

BBB advice

The Better Business Bureau reminds us that not all quizzes on social media are scams. However, phishing is real, and cybercriminals are creative and patient in their efforts to steal someone’s identity. Do not give a hacker the means to impersonate you. Consider the harmful consequences of a successful phishing attack and keep yourself and your social media site safe.

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