I recently signed up for an online account as part of a car rental process. I had no complaints about the car service itself, but found myself in murky water by entering in personal information and a credit card number that let me pay up front.
I found my car easily at the airport, but the next day, I received another email from the rental company. This email provided me with a big button to “click here and pay”.
The email was disconcerting to say the least. I wondered what had gone wrong in the previous transaction, and why I was being asked again for a payment. As I scanned the email closely, I finally noticed an email address in fine print at the bottom that read, “@hackers.com”. I did not take the bait!
What is Phishing?
Phishing is an attempt to obtain personal and sensitive information by disguising as a trustworthy entity in electronic communications. It is most often carried out by email spoofing and instant messaging, and can prompt a person to enter in personal information on a fake website, while appearing legitimate in presentation.
While employees of most trusted businesses are vigilant about suspicious emails these days, it is also important for clients/customers to be cautious as well.
Simple Practices and What to Watch Out For
1. Hover over questionable links to reveal the true destination before clicking.
If the link is still in question, one should manually type the URL address into their web browser; never click on a link from an unknown or untrusted source.
2. Look for https, not http.
Be aware that secure websites start with https. The “s” confirms that the data is being conveyed through a legitimate, secured channel.
3. Review sender information to make sure the name was not spoofed.
If the sender’s address appears to be fine, you may want to look towards the bottom of the email for further contact links and details, or any fine print disclaimers.
4. Use wireless networks you trust and know are protected.
Don’t use public computers to access confidential information or accounts, or to perform financial transactions.
5. Be sure to log out completely.
This practice is like flossing your teeth. While we know it is best to do, we don’t always take the time to do it.
Email and mobile apps are helpful forms of communication access in our day-to-day lives. We should not be afraid to use them; we just need to be smart about how we do.
If you have any questions, please reach out to White Oaks Wealth Advisors.