Don't get caught out by online Phishing scams

Don’t get hooked by the Phishermen

In today’s crazy world, it’s easy to get caught up thinking you need to read and act on absolutely everything you are being presented with; email, post, text, Facebook, Twitter, BBM, the list is endless!

That “bing” sound from one of your various devices is comparable, for some, to a drill sergeant shrieking they get up and give him 20.  It is all too easy these days to “react” to what’s being asked (just one click). With all the tools available, one might say it’s natural and to be expected – we are, after all, fed more information today than at any other time in history.

Amid this somewhat spiritual battle of life in 2015 it’s important to not lose those some of those most basic human faculties: analysis, validation and in some ways suspicion. Throwing caution to the wind is all but encouraged, we are constantly assured we are safe and sound in our online bubbles, but it’s only the whisper lost in the wind warning us to “just be a little careful and not to share too much.” ….how much is too much??

The truth of the matter is simple, no matter what anyone promises, nothing is 100% guaranteed. No internet or email safety solution is infallible, and despite decades of technological evolution, the vast majority of security breaches and infiltrations are STILL caused by human complacency – it really doesn’t matter how many locks you have on a door, sooner or later you always end up opening it.

So, in essence, what we are trying to say is this: despite all the perils of non-stop information and all the various protection systems we put in place, it is vitally important to remember that everything may not be as it seems.

Perhaps we need to regress, just a little, back maybe to some of our more assessorial inclinations, possibly just being a little more suspicious about that email attachment from the HMRC, or that nice gentleman in the far east who wishes to donate his aunt’s copper mine to you for just 50USD – take your time, give it some thought, maybe you don’t really want to own a mine!! And maybe it will give him some time to cool down before he gives away the family inheritance.

If you’re suspicious, it’s always worth a quick phone call, and possibly a sample of copper first too! He’s probably just a Phisherman*

Anyhow, if you are left mightily confused by the mishmash above, just have a quick read through these tips:

  • HMRC, Royal Mail, FedEx etc. should never send you attachments, unless you ask for them, so quite simply, don’t open them and don’t forget to mark that email as JUNK 
  • If you’re convinced you are expecting a vital attachment, just call up the person and confirm 
  • Always check the email address against the name, make sure it matches previous emails 
  • If you know something is junk, don’t just delete it, mark as JUNK it will all make a difference 
  • Beware of opening zip files, we all still use them but it’s an ideal format for viruses to hide in 
  • Don’t follow any link that asks you for you usernames and passwords unless you’re 100%, it’s always best to manually type the web address you are looking for, and login that way 
  • Finally, if you’re unsure, send it to us – we’ll soon tell you!

Hope you found this valuable, till next time.

*A Phisher is someone or something trying to obtain information through deceptive means, not to be confused with Fishermen, who to be fair are a mixed bag!