We have all received those emails that look like they are coming from trusted websites. Emails that direct you to a website that looks familiar to update certain information, even personal data. Beware when these sites are asking you to update secure information such as social security numbers, passwords or even credit card numbers or bank information.
What makes these emails so trusted is that you know the business name as one where you have done business in the past. The logo, colors and look and feel of the site look so familiar. One of the most recent examples is your domain name registrar that says your domain is about to expire. Or your hosting company that says you have run out of hosting space and your website will be taken down if you don’t update your information.
There is a website called WhoIs.com that will give anyone who searches all the details about a domain – where it is registered, who owns it, the address, both email and physical, of the owner and where it is hosted. I was recently introduced to a “scraper” that will create a spreadsheet of all this information for as many websites as you put into the program. Right there at their fingertips is all the information a hacker needs. (More information later on how to protect this.)
You are tempted to click on the link provided because it is so convenient and then when you do it is natural to want to correct false information. Much to your regret you find out later this was a false website that was created with the sole intent to steal your individual or business details. You, my good friend, have actually simply been “phished“.
Phishing (pronounced “fishing”) is specified as the act of sending an e-mail to a recipient falsely declaring to actually be an established, genuine business. The intent of the phisher is to rip-off the recipient into surrendering their personal information, and ultimately steal your identity.
It is not as simple as you think to spot an email phishing for details. At the beginning, the email may look like it is from a legitimate business such as your bank, hosting company or the local freight carrier. The field marked “From” will usually the.com address of the business pointed out in the e-mail. The clickable link even appears to take you to the company’s website, when in reality, it is a phony site constructed to duplicate the legitimate website.
A lot of these people are expert crooks. They have invested a great deal of time in developing e-mails that look genuine. Users have to examine all e-mails asking for personal details thoroughly. While you are scanning your emails keep in mind that the “From” can be changed by the sender to be any email address.
While it might look like it is originating from a.com you do business with, looks can be deceiving. Likewise remember that the phisher will go all out in attempting to make their email look as genuine as possible. They will even copy logo designs or images from the main site to use in their e-mails. Finally, they want you to use clickable link that the recipient can follow to easily update their info.
An excellent way to check the legitimacy of the link is to point at the link with your mouse. The actual website address for the link where you are directed will be displayed on the status bar in the lower left corner of your screen. It is a very quick and easy method to check if you are being directed to a genuine website.
You can protect your domain with WhoIs Guard which is offered from your domain registrar such as GoDaddy. It is about $10 a year and will hide your information from prying eyes.
Finally, follow the golden rule. Never ever, ever, click the links within the text of the e-mail, and always delete the email instantly. As soon as you have deleted the e-mail, empty the trash can in your e-mail accounts also. If you are really worried that you are missing out on a crucial notice relating to one of your accounts, then type the complete URL address of the website into your internet browser. At least then you can be confident that you are, in reality, being directed to the true and genuine website. It is also a good idea to notify the organization about the fraud email.
PcRx Computers is concerned with your safety and your identity, We provide virus scanning programs for your protection. However, there is much you can do to protect your identity. Never give confidential information out over the internet.
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Conway, SC 29526