Phishing scams, better known to civilians as phony emails and webpages that can leave you in a bind. Regional Director, Kelly Trevino with the Better Business Bureau warns what to watch out for.
“When con artists create emails, links or webpages assuming the identity of a trustworthy source, it could prompt you to share sensitive personal data,” she said.
The bottom line is it’s called phishing and it’s a big business for cyber criminals. For example, Trevino says, emails like this have been going around, convincing and concerning curious-people to click on the supposed “court notice.”
Scammers send realistic looking fake emails with links or attachments they want you to click. When you do, you could download malicious software, or malware for short, onto your computer.
“Malware includes viruses and spyware that get installed on your computer, phone or mobile device without your consent,” she added.
Plus, these programs can cause your device to crash and can be used to monitor and control your online activity. Criminals use malware to steal personal information, send spam, and commit fraud.
If you get an unexpected email like this, delete it.
Trevino stresses, don’t click on any attachments or links. If you’re not sure whether it’s real, you can always contact the court, company, or agency it claims to be from directly.
Here’s a suggested list to look at if you suspect trouble connected to ‘phishing’ scams.
- · Don’t click on links or open attachments in unsolicited email.
- · If your email program allows it, tag the email as spam.
- · Report the email to your Internet Service Provider.
- · If you are unsure if an email is legitimate, call the sender using a phone number that you know to be correct (not from the email).
But what if you already clicked on the attachment?
- · Stop shopping, banking and doing other online activities that involve user names, passwords or other sensitive information.
- · Update your security software, and then run it to scan your computer for viruses and spyware. Delete anything it identifies as a problem. You may have to restart your computer for the changes to take effect.
- · If your computer is covered by a warranty that offers free tech support, contact the manufacturer.
- · If you can’t solve the problem on your own, consider hiring a company-some are affiliated with retail stores-that offers tech support on the phone, online, at their store and in your home.
If you have more questions or simply want more information just visit www.bbb.org.