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Don’t be Caught in this Email Trap

How many times have you received an email with a request that you click a link to accept an offer, like this one?Star

This is actually one of the chief tools crooks use to gain access to your computer, to steal your personal data, or to infiltrate a business or government. It’s called ‘social engineering.’

When you click on a link, you don’t know what the computer code behind the scenes is going to do.The actual website address is hidden inside that link, and especially on mobile devices can be very hard to understand. Crooks, scammers, and even foreign governments have become very good at making fake emails that look like they come from your favorite business. In reality, they can be clever forgeries designed to lead you to a forged website to steal your personal data (‘phishing’) or download viruses to your computer.

What to do: remember, your momma said, “don’t talk to strangers!”

  • Especially for banking, never click on a link in an email you did not expect.
  • You can always type in the address in the navigation bar yourself, then save it to your favorites so you can go there again.
  • If you’re not sure, it’s better to try to go to a company’s website and find what you need that way.

Sometimes you can identify a scam because of bad spelling or improper grammer, but crooks have been getting more sophisticated, so you can’t count on this. If you suspect an email is not really from a friend, text or call them to make sure, especially if you see warning signs or something is really out of character.

You may have to work a bit harder, but it is a small price to pay to protect your money and identity.