Over the past 25 years, technology has truly changed the way we live. We pay bills online, access bank and loan accounts online, and make purchases online. While this has created a convenience we have never experienced until recent years, it’s also opened up a lot of opportunity for identity theft through cybercrime. We want to make sure you’re aware of common cybercrimes and how to protect yourself. Here’s some basic information you should know.
Phishing: Luring victims to click on a link to get sensitive information or plant a virus.
Have you ever received an email that only has a link and no other copy? Perhaps you already knew this was some kind of scam and immediately deleted the email. Great job! Clicking on that link could take you to a fake website where criminals ask for personal information. Clicking on the link could also automatically give criminals access to your computer, where they can look for sensitive information, watch your internet habits or plant a virus on your computer. Phishing can be used alone or with spamming and spoofing to steal your identity.
To avoid falling prey to this type of technique, NEVER click on a link from an unexpected sender that you are unfamiliar with. Check to make sure the URL matches with the content of the email by hovering your mouse over the blue hyperlink. Make sure to look at the details. Does the email say it is from Facebook? Does the link say facebook.com or facebook.net? Little details like this will save you from falling prey to phishers.
Spamming: Sending the same unsolicited email to a large group of people.
Spamming can be hurtful in several ways. A great example of this is a “spam scam,” where a criminal sends an email indicating you have won the lottery and requests that you send a payment to cover taxes in order to get your winnings. Unfortunately, the lotto payment is never received so whatever amount was sent “for taxes” is lost to the victim. Below is an example of this type of email. There are several variations, and this is just one example of how a spam email can turn into fraud. Notice how the crook is using a spam (undisclosed recipients) with phishing (the link)?
To prevent this kind of fraud, never open emails from strangers or click on links in an email like this. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Spoofing: Using a fake website, email address or other identifier that looks legitimate to trick a victim into responding with an action that may benefit the spoofer.
An example of this is using a fake website that looks legitimate to trick someone into submitting financial, personal or password data into a fake website. To avoid being spoofed, check websites for security measures such as a padlock in the url and https:// rather than http://. The padlock and the s indicate the website is a secure site.
Additionally, use email spam filters and do not click on links that indicate you need to update personal or financial information. Call a verified number from the company’s website and verify the email is legitimate.
Click the following links for more details on the above cybercrimes: