You received an email, you clicked a link, and now you believe you've been hacked.
This is a common concern, and if you're like most people, it will happen to you at some point. You wonder, what should I do next and should I even be worried?
First, take a deep breath and don't panic.
If you opened the email, in most cases nothing has happened yet. If you didn't click on the link or open the attachment, you're likely not compromised and have nothing to worry about.
No matter if you click or not, never respond to the attack. By simply responding it may give them an avenue to put a virus on your computer. At the very least, by responding you signal that there is a live person on the other end that they continue the conversation. They may start to ask you questions that look harmless, such as "What was your first pet's name?" This is an attempt to gather information from you that could answer common security questions to verify your identity.
These are called phishing attacks. The hacker either pretend to be someone they are not - it might look like it comes from your bank or credit card company. They are hoping you think it's real and legit and you will click on the link.
The important thing to remember is that large corporations like Microsoft, Google, PayPal, and Amazon, the government, and even your bank - will not ask you for money or sensitive information through an email.
Don't share sensitive information like account numbers, social security numbers, your address, or other information.
A simple way to see if an email is coming from the authorized service is to look at the sender's email address. If the email has extra digits and letters, it is most likely a phishing attack.
If you did click, call your nearest computer technician service like Small Town Tech.
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