Up next in How to Maintain Internet Security & Privacy (10 videos)
Stay clear of online scams and secure your Internet privacy with the safety precautions in these Howcast videos.
You Will Need
- Healthy skepticism
- Careful reading
- Mouse test (optional)
Ignore any email or text message that asks you to reveal sensitive information, like bank account numbers, a password, or your social security number. A legitimate company already has this information and wouldn't ask you to update it or verify it via email.
Be leery of links and phone numbers
Don't click on any links within an email; it may lead you to a bogus website that looks like the real thing. If you want to check an account, open a new browser session and type in the URL of the company yourself, or use a bookmark you created. Do not cut and paste the link provided. Never call a phone number provided, either.
Don't be pressured
Don't be intimidated by messages warning you of dire consequences if you don't provide the requested information. Such scare tactics are the hallmarks of phishing scams.
Read web addresses carefully. Cybercriminals often use misspellings of company names to fool people, a practice known as "typosquatting" or "cybersquatting."
Don't get speared
Never assume an email is legitimate just because it appears to be from a firm you do business with. Cyber thieves often target a company's customers, a practice known as "spear phishing."
Report phishing immediately
If you think you may have been tricked into giving your personal financial information to a phisher, contact your bank and credit card company immediately. You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at "ftc.gov":http://ftc.gov/.