Practice Safe Computing
E-mail users need to be vigilant when reviewing what is in their email. Many phishing expeditions involve the clever use of real corporate logos and links that may direct the reader to real corporate websites. Some suggestions to avoid getting "hooked" by a phishing scam are:
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- If you get an email or pop-up message that asks for personal or financial information, do not reply or click on the link in the message. Legitimate companies don't ask for this information via email. If you are concerned about your account, contact the organization in the email using a telephone number you know to be genuine.
- Be careful of emails that are not personalized. Many phishing emails are sent in great bulk and, therefore, cannot be personalized.
- Be suspicious of emails that contain spelling errors and awkward syntax or phrasing. Many scam emails are sent from other countries where English is not the primary language.
- Do not email personal or financial information. Email is not a secure method of transmitting personal information. This includes filling out a form in an email.
- If you initiate a transaction and want to provide your personal or financial information through an organization's Web site, look for indicators that the site is secure, like a lock icon on the browser's status bar or a URL for a website that begins "https:" (the "s" stands for "secure").
- Use anti-virus software and keep it up to date. Some phishing e-mails contain software that can harm your computer or track your activities on the Internet without your knowledge. Look for anti-virus software that recognizes current viruses as well as older ones; that can effectively reverse the damage; and that updates automatically.
- Ensure your web browser is up to date and all security patches have been installed. Visit your browser's home page to download the latest security updates.