Steps to protect yourself from email phishing and scams during COVID-19

We have noticed a significant increase in phishing and scamming emails being sent out over the past several months. These emails are worded in such a way to convince you that they are completely legitimate. Please heighten awareness and take extra care when viewing emails that don’t look quite right; users give up more than just a username and password when they click on and enter data to these phishing emails.

Tips for protecting yourself while handling emails

Be very skeptical of online requests for personal information. Legitimate organizations will not ask for this type of information via email. An email asking for any personal information such as your email address, password, bank account info, or birth date is very likely a scam. Never respond to an email with your personal data.

Check the sending email address or the replying link. If you hover your cursor over the URL a little bubble will appear showing you where it will lead you to. Sometimes, it is obvious the website address is not legitimate, but phishers and scammers are creating links that resemble legitimate addresses as well, so take extra caution.

Be on the alert for generic greetings. Phishing emails seldom use your real name. Email introductions such as … “Dear sir or madam” … “Dear Friend / User”… “Dear (your email address), signal that an email is not legitimate.

Be extra cautious for emails that threaten you to act now. It is common for Phishing emails to try and create a sense of urgency and require instant remediation. The more panic or concern the headline or subject line creates the less likely you will pay attention to the details and ultimately put your guard down.

Images within an email may contain a malicious payload to infect your system. Phishing and Spam emails may use fancy images to lure the receiver towards phony websites, which can have malicious software. This software downloads itself onto your system and may record your keystroke activity and send information secretly to the hacker. It is very important to make sure your system is up to date with an anti-virus product to better prevent this from happening.

The goal of these Phishing emails is to get you to click on a link and provide personal information. All or any data collected gets stored on the dark web and sold to the highest bidder.

Once you determine that an email is a scam please ignore or delete it. If you’re unsure about the contents, please pick up the phone and call the sender to confirm, if you reply to the email you may be corresponding with the attacker. If you have clicked on one of these emails and entered any information, please contact our support department as soon as possible.

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