Every time you turn around it seems that some new scam is running rampant on the Internet. The best way to avoid these pitfalls and not fall victim to these schemes is to stay in the loop and always remain cautious.
When you receive an email asking for any kind of personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, or PIN numbers or passwords always be suspicious. It is very unlikely that your bank, credit card company or anyone for that matter would ask for that information via email. It is highly probable emails of this nature are from scammers doing what’s called phishing. These emails can be extremely sophisticated and may seem to come from the real entity, when in fact it has just been meticulously recreated for the purpose of fooling the consumers being preyed upon. Many times the content will be made to seem urgent and require immediate action for a fearful reason, or may say the attached is an outstanding invoice that is being drafted from your bank account. These are warning signs that should be heeded.
Even the most technologically savvy can be and have been deceived by these tactics and unfortunately many people of all ages as well as businesses are being taken advantage of each and every day through email phishing. Always remember -- if it seems suspicious, it more than likely is suspicious.
The Federal Trade Commission lists the following suggestions regarding emails on their website:
- Be cautious about opening attachments or clicking links in emails.
- Do your own typing. Use your resources to double check the information before calling or clicking.
- Make the call if you’re not sure. DO NOT respond to emails that request personal or financial information. Call the number on the website not the one listed in the email correspondence. Then you can confirm if the email is actually legitimate.
- Turn on or activate two-factor authentication with accounts that support it. This requires two forms of verification and provides increased security.
- Back up files to an external hard drive or cloud storage. Back up on a regular basis.
- Keep your security up to date. Use software you trust and also make sure you set it to update automatically.
- Report phishing emails and texts. Visit consumer.ftc.gov for further details on how to report these incidents.
Please remember do not forward the emails in question for others to “check out” as that may just continue the chain and they and others may continue to be defrauded.
Read up on Internet safety and continue to keep up to date on new developments. As is always the case, knowledge is power and the more information you have the more secure you will be.
The Coles County Council on Aging offices are located at the LifeSpan Center, 11021 E. Co. Rd. 800 N., Charleston. The telephone number is 217-639-5150 for the Coles County Council on Aging and LifeSpan Center. Come join us each weekday at noon for “Lunch at LifeSpan.”
Peace Meals, sponsored by Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center, are served Monday through Friday at a suggested donation of $3.50. To register, reserve a lunch or learn more, call 217-348-1800.