How to tell if you’re a victim of a phishing scam (and what to do)

Tis the season for lots of emails sharing news of sales, specials and fantastic deals. But are they all on the up-and-up? It’s easy to overlook phishing emails, and possible you might accidently click on a link that could cause trouble. If you’re suspicious – good! A healthy dose of distrust can be healthy, especially when dealing with emails and texts you’re just not sure about.

What exactly is phishing?

Email phishing tricks readers into clicking on links that either download malicious software to their computer, or capture user names, passwords and other personal information to illegally access personal or financial accounts.

One way to suspect a phishing email is if it is filled with grammatical and spelling errors. Other clues are offers for unbelievably great deals, free money, technology or travel. Phishing emails have also figured out how to target children who use email and the internet with attractive offers of free toys, games, technology, talent scouting for Hollywood or scholarship scams.

What do I do if I suspect this is a phishing email?

Do NOT click on any links in the email, even if it says it’s from your mother.

Do NOT supply any personal information such as user names, passwords, account numbers, etc.

Mark the email as spam if your email program has that option. Then delete it or you can report it to one of these sites:

  • National Consumers League at Fraud.org: https://www.fraud.org/
  • Better Business Bureau: https://www.bbb.org/
  • If the email is spoofing (pretending to be) a company you work with, report it to that company. Many companies offer a special website or email address to forward phishing emails to. This helps them identify potential threats to their customers and formulate ways to protect them from more.
  • If the email says it’s from Softcom and you are suspicious of its validity, please call us at (800) 982-7675, option 1, and we’ll help.

Oops, I clicked on a phishing link. Now what?

Uh oh, you’ve been phished! Don’t worry, you’re not alone. If you accidently clicked on a link, here’s a few actions you can take to protect yourself:

Turn on multifactor authentication: Many online services now offer customers the ability to turn on multifactor authentication. This means that when you log in from a computer they don’t recognize, you’ll have a one-time code texted to your phone you can use to verify that it is you. While it may seem like an extra step, use this service, it’s a great way to stop someone from breaking into your accounts using passwords they may have just stolen from you.

Change your passwords: If you’ve been phished, change your passwords to something you have never used before. Make your password long and distinctive. Good password behavior and diligence using your accounts is the best thing you can do to protect yourself. For tips on creating strong passwords, check out this article on our blog: “How to Create Strong Passwords.”

Check accounts regularly: Review bank and credit card accounts regularly for suspicious activity. If you see unauthorized charges freeze or cancel your cards and let the bank know what happened so they can put further protections in place.

Notify credit agencies: If any of your financial accounts might have been hacked, contact one of the three major credit bureaus as soon as possible to place a fraud alert until the issue has been resolved.

Phishing tactics just keep getting smarter, so it’s important to keep yourself educated and aware of these issues. If you are a Softcom customer, we’d like you to know that we will never sends emails to our customers asking for sensitive information. For any questions about Softcom account security or help with passwords give us a call at (800) 982-7675 or 1 (888) 4-SOFTCOM, we’re here to help.

 

Kristy CooperHow to tell if you’re a victim of a phishing scam (and what to do)