If you want to outsmart a scammer, stay alert and keep up to date on the latest attacks.
There are 3.17 billion internet users worldwide. To put that into perspective, there are around 323 million people living in the United States, so if everyone in the U.S. used the internet that would be less than ten percent of internet users worldwide.
The internet is a marvelous invention, useful for finding information quickly, connecting with friends and family, watching videos and so much more. But with the good comes the bad - phishers.
Think you can outsmart a scammer? In 2014 the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center tallied nearly 270 thousand complaints, totaling more than $800 million in losses.
To help protect yourself, you first need to understand what you are dealing with. So what exactly is phishing?
Phishing is a social engineering technique by which an attacker imitates a credible source in an attempt to fool a victim into providing personal information or to perform an action, like clicking on a link.
“People tend to be too trusting regarding websites and providing their personal information online or in emails,” says Denise Meyer, AVP Fraud.
Increase your personal safety with the following three-step checklist:
1. Going to websites - Look for https:// or the lock symbol at the beginning of the web address. The “s” at the end of http means that the site has added security. A word of caution: Scammers can and do set up false sites with https://.
2. Entering information online. Before you provide any information online, practice due diligence on merchants to verify they are registered and legitimate companies. Google search companies and check with places such as the Better Business Bureau to research their registration details and service history.
3.Clicking email links. Before you click, hover over the link. Does the link match the company’s official site address? For example, when you hover over a link to RCB Bank’s website it should look like https://rcbbank.com/. A scam link may look something like http://www.RCBbbanks.com. Look carefully, while the link is very much like the real one, it’s a fake and may lead you to malware.
“We see new scams or phishing attempts almost daily,” said Meyer. “You can never be too cautious on the internet.”
One of the latest scams involves cyber criminals making it possible to attack your computer when you open a malicious email from the preview pane into a second window. Previewing the message is okay, but once you open it, you may activate the malware.
“Always think before you click on an email or link,” said Meyer.
For more information, check out these sites:
Federal Trade Commission, www.identitytheft.gov;
RCB Bank Education Center ID Theft and Fraud, www.RCBbank.com/EducationCenter
Secret Service, www.secretservice.gov;
Department of Justice, www.justice.gov.
Financially Fit is a column published by RCB Bank to help you gain knowledge on all things financial. Fitness guides – RCB Bank professionals in the field – offer ideas to help you strengthen your money sense, customize savings training, and provide quick and easy action plans to start whipping your money into shape. Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and persons interviewed and meant for generic illustration purposes only. Member FDIC.
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