Don’t let anyone take you on a phishing trip

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They target small and large businesses alike. They target moms, dads, and grandparents. They’ll take anyone phishing who wants to go – and I promise you, this can be the most expensive trip you’ve ever been on. Phishing schemes use email, social media, and text messages to bait you into providing your personal information.  

When they get your information, they exploit it, taking over your email, social media, and bank accounts. Sometimes, the email may look, at first glance, as though it is from someone you know like “John Smith, your CPA,” unless you pay close attention and notice it actually looks like “FROM: John Smith, CPA foreignhacker@Grabyourinfo.rk”.  

Even recently in Northwest Florida, we have seen numerous cases where these phishing captains try to act like they are your own company’s employees and then try get your bookkeeper to wire money out of the country. Sometimes they just want you to “update your banking credentials,” or maybe you “have a virus on your computer” and they’ll “remote in so you can put in your credit card to pay them to clean up your computer.” These are all examples of phishing scams.

The best thing you can do is be aware of the problem. If something doesn’t look quite right, it probably isn’t. Many of the emails from these scams look like a regular communication from a company you do business with, such as Netflix, just harmlessly wanting you to update your password, but it’s not. 

So how do we protect ourselves from unwanted phishing trips? Keeping your antivirus software and security patches up to date is the easiest and safest way to provide some protection against these attacks. Always have a good, current backup of your computer, phone, or tablet. Nothing, replaces common sense and taking just a minute to read what you see on the screen and react appropriately.  Your bank will never email you to confirm or change your password; neither will your credit card company or Netflix.  

If you’ve received a phishing trip invite, you can forward it to reportphishing@apwg.org  or if you’ve received a text you can forward it to SPAM (7726).


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