When you think about staying safe online, you’ll probably think of having strong passwords, guarding your financial data, and monitoring your kids’ surfing habits. But one area we often overlook is how we respond to emails that prey upon our fears.
Emails that say “you’re past due on a bill payment” or “your credit card has been compromised” would certainly get your attention, but pause and think before you open those messages, and before you click on any of their links. Do you really have a past due payment? Check the status directly with the business by looking up their contact information on your statement or look it up independently online — just don’t use anything from the email. Likewise, for questions about your credit card, call the credit card company directly to find out if there’s a problem.
Cyber criminals are refining their phishing tactics and finding new ways to trip us up. The messages that are most likely to get our attention will focus on things we worry about, in the hope that we’ll open, click and reveal personal information without thinking. This can expose you to malware or identity theft, so bring a little healthy skepticism to your email inbox, and keep yourself safe online.
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