Phishing attempts become more sophisticated every day. It's hard to know if a call, email, or text message is legitimate or not. Even ads on Google might lead you to a phishing attempt (we know, because it happened to one of our employees).
Often, these bad actors will want to gain control of your computer, and surprisingly it's really easy to do. All these hackers need to do is lead you to a website where they can gain control of your screen and ultimately your computer.
But, what would they want to steal?
They can steal your banking data, your contact list, credit card information, images, and other personal information.
Ok, what should I do?
Don't worry. There are a few things you can do to mitigate your risk:
1. Contact the Company Directly
If they reached out to you about a billing or other concern that makes you question the legitimacy of the inquiry, stop and hang up. Look up the company's phone number (if they have one) and call them directly to see if there are issues on your account. Remember, government agencies and banks will usually send you a letter and that asks you to call them.
2. If You Can't Call Them, They Won't Call You
Quite simply, if a major company doesn't have a way to contact customer service (like Google), it's unlikely they will ever call you about a billing concern. They will most likely email you. Furthermore, if there is an issue with your account, the service will stop. Platforms like Microsoft will limit the platform until you pay for the service.
3. Don't Follow Steps Without Asking Why
Think twice before allowing someone access to your computer. Any reputable company will ask for your permission first and tell you WHY they need access to your computer to troubleshoot an issue. If you feel the person on the other end of the line is demanding you to go to a web address and type in codes without telling you the purpose, STOP. They are most likely leading you to a site where they can gain access of your computer. This allows them to install malware and even ransomware.
4. Don't Click
Especially with text messages and emails, even if you are curious DO NOT CLICK links or open attachments. Doing so can put your device or email at risk.
5. Pay Attention to the Timing of Pop Ups
If you're using Microsoft Word, for example, you might get a pop-up telling you your billing information is expiring on your Microsoft account. If you know that is true, it is likely a legitimate pop-up. Even then, if your billing information expires, the service will just stop... no big deal. You would also receive an email encouraging you to update your information. However, if you get a pop-up while you are browsing the Internet, think twice. It's most likely spam. Make sure you turn on pop-up blocking on your Internet browser to block attempts like this.
Think you may have been hacked? Learn more about how to know and what to do if you've been hacked.
If you're concerned that you've been compromised, our Tech Team can help.
What do you want to know?
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