By Leah G. Reynolds
The email notification goes off on your phone. You immediately check your email to find the newest coupon from your favorite store, sitting in your inbox. You click on the message and smile when you see, “Everything 50% Off, Click Here for Coupon”. You instinctively click on the message. You are conveniently taken to the website to shop for your heart out. Sounds like a perfect ending right? Wrong!
Phishing for a victim. You don’t realize it, but a simple link inside an email could open the door to identity theft and fraud. The situation described above is a prime example of phishing. Phishing is when a hacker tries to gain confidential information from a victim by creating fake websites, sending fake emails or posing as a banking institution over the telephone .
Protect yourself. When you receive an email from an online retailer or your bank, don’t access your account from the link provided in the email. Write down the “coupon code” and visit the website from a separate browser. This way you can test the coupon to see if it is valid. Be wary of emails from your bank or your favorite store that request sensitive information from you.
Check your statements. Make sure that you are mindful of your account statements. Most identity thieves steal your money in small amounts, initially as a way to test your vigilance. If you are on top of your accounts, you can also prevent further damage to your account.
Remember, that hackers are quite determined. Attacks are becoming more and more sophisticated and stealth. The detection software is unable to keep up with the mind of a hacker. Stay on your toes when making online purchases.
Guard your personal information as you guard your wallet.
Reynolds Consulting Services