Online Personal Security

August 2, 2021

By Emily Harsh, Account Director - General IT

In today’s day and age, most of us are online every day whether it’s for work or personal, sending e-mails, browsing the internet, checking social media, using online platforms and more. No matter how much working professionals are immersed in technology, online criminals are finding new ways every day to spam even the most tech-savvy people out there. It is important to be aware of the signs of spam or phishing to keep your personal information protected and secure.  

Below are just a few basic factors to watch out for online that should set off the alarm bells for spam and phishing.  

  1. If you receive an e-mail that seems to be from someone you know, double check the actual e-mail address the message was sent from; it oftentimes will look very generic or not follow company protocols if it is a phisher. 
  2. Online criminals regularly send messages offering a financial award or another way to entice you to provide your personal information – be wary of this! 
  3. Check for misspelling of websites, names, etc.  
  4. Double check that any attachments or links you receive are from a credible source and do not have an unusual name. 
  5. Be sure to look for ‘https’ on the websites you visit. This means the site is encrypted and typically spam sites are not.  

Here are the steps you can take to make sure you are protecting yourself against online criminals.  

  1. As soon as you identify a message as spam, always report it! 
  2. When you receive an unexpected attachment, or one that looks unusual, do not open it. Verify with the sender over the phone whether this is a legitimate attachment.  
  3. Avoid inputting your info into fake log-in pages; spammers oftentimes create pages that look very similar to common sites in order to steal your info. 
  4. Do not click links from unknown individuals. To be sure, you can hover your mouse over the link to validate where the link is going. Odds are, it will show you that it is not going to a site that you know or can trust.  
  5. Use passcodes on your devices, and create strong, unique passwords across your online accounts.  

By adhering to these tips and tricks, you are much more likely to know how to spot phishing or spam. By learning to spot them, you can save yourself and your information from being stolen or corrupted. These spammers are meant to trick you so in the end, if you’re unsure – just ask! It never hurts to double-check.   

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