Each year, thousands of individuals fall into a phishing scheme – and many will spend weeks sorting out their critical financial account information once the frightening situation has been discovered.
You may be aware that this is something to watch for, but did you know that some of the most public and headline-worthy security breaches began with a successful phishing scam? While your personal security breach may not claim front-page news like the ones at Target or Sony, it can be devastating to your personal finances if your information is compromised.
Preventing a phishing attack is easy enough if you know how to detect an attempt. There are a few telltale signs:
- Grammatical or spelling errors in the email subject or text. (These types of errors would not typically be found in correspondence from a professional and legitimate business or organization).
- Graphics that imitate those of a corporation but appear to be cut-and-pasted. Look for a grainy appearance, blurred lines or an odd size.
- A sense of urgency in the email language.
Tools that Help Prevent Phishing:
Even if you know all the above signs, you may still absentmindedly click on a suspicious link, and you might wonder if there are tools you can put in place to help guard against a mistake.
Here are a few helpful ideas:
- Don’t ever click on the link in a suspicious email.
- Always look at the email address of the sender. Even if the email appears to be from a large company or one you regularly interact with, the sender’s email address may reveal that it’s from an imposter.
- A spam filter on your email may eliminate many phishing attempts from ever making it to your inbox.
- Using two-factor authentication for banking sites and other sources of sensitive data can keep a hacker that’s gained access to your system from reaching your critical information.
- Enable browser add-ons that discourage you from clicking on malicious links.
- Never share your email password, and change it to something that’s a short phrase, rather than just a word.
Having the skills to recognize a phishing email adds an important layer of protection for your personal information. In a highly-digitized society, it’s easy to absentmindedly open your email on your phone and begin clicking through messages, but you should only check your email when you’re ready to be diligent.
The most important tool you have for guarding against phishing may come from your instincts. If you notice something doesn’t look normal about an email, it probably isn’t quite right.
Our team at Lawson Kroeker Investment Management strives to share important tips with you as helpful reminders, and we rigorously follow our own security protocols for every client. We invite you to learn more about our team and our philosophies today.