My humans bring me to work with them every day; they wouldn't have it any other way. Unlike my humans, I can sit in on meetings, listen to ideas and think about solutions to problems and then I can go take a nap: they can't. Life is good that way. But you know when life isn't good? When a customer comes in angry because they got scammed and wakes me up from my nap - it really raises the fur on the back of my neck.
You see, I know the various methods hackers use when they are on a phishing expedition and my human's customers need to be watchdogs about it. I'll let you in on a little secret I have learned in this business: if it looks suspicious—it most likely is, but sometimes it can look 100 percent legitimate.
You may receive a message from what looks like your:
- Web design company
- IT company
- Credit card company
- Microsoft Office
It might look legit, but you might just want to sniff it out first before you click on any links.
Hackers have gotten smarter over the years and use more sophisticated software and have ways of sending emails that look authentic. You might receive an email that looks like it's from your bank or from Tech Support informing you that they have noticed "unusual activity" on your account, or that your "response is required" due to an email you failed to respond to, or that you need to "update your password/ username." They will generally provide you a link—don't click on the link! That's how they trick you into getting personal information and boom! —you've been hacked.
Here are some scenarios that smell phishy:
- You might be directed to call a bogus 1-800 number where you are personally asked for your private information over the phone.
- You could also receive an infected HTML attachment, or a video that asks for you to click on a link to install extensions in order to view it.
- Do you use LinkedIn? Lots of phishing links can be found there.
It's enough to make me want to stay home without my humans and we all know I don't like doing that. But if you stay alert you will be safe.
How to Stay on the Leash
You can hover your cursor over a link without clicking it. The full URL will show up in the bottom left-hand side of your browser or just on top of the URL. Say, for instance, the link says: https://www.technicalrs.com/, hover over it and see if the information is the same. This can be your first clue to sniff out if the link may be legitimate. Or if you are unsure about a website, hover over the tab and it should display the company information. You can also look for the little padlock on the website link's address to make sure it's locked or check to see if the name begins with https instead of http.
So, not to be like a dog chasing her own tail about this, but you can easily protect yourself from hackers in several ways:
- If you receive a suspicious email, don't click on any links, close out the email, go directly to the website yourself and call the phone number on the site or the one listed on your bank card or credit card.
- If someone calls and leaves you a message, do not call the number they left you. Again, go directly to the website and call the number listed there.
Or better yet, call my humans. They know everything about technology and full-service managed IT solutions and can implement a plan to prevent hackers from hooking you on their next phishing attempt.