By now we’re all aware of the dangers of opening e-mail attachments or clicking links from unknown sources – but what about e-mails which appear to be legitimate? When fraudsters pose as a company, brand or e-mail address you recognize, it’s called phishing. A play on the word fish, the perpetrators are fishing for someone to fall for their scam by sending e-mails (usually with a link to a website) purporting to be from a reputable company. They’re hoping to trick people into giving out personal information or making payments.
How to prevent phishing:
- Make sure you have a spam filter on your e-mails
- Look for tell-tale signs such as typos, grammar errors or poor image quality
- Check the e-mail address – businesses and organizations don’t use hotmail or gmail accounts
- Don’t assume people or businesses are who they say they are
- Don’t give out personal/business information unless you’re absolutely sure of who you are dealing with.
- Trust your instincts – if you’re not comfortable, contact the company directly to find out if the message is legitimate.
Now, look at your browser – how many tabs do you have open? And how long have they been that way? Using code, fraudsters can change the content and label of an open but inactive tab to look like the log-in for a bank, an online store, or even your e-mail provider. When you click back to the tab and find the log-in screen you assume the session has timed out and so you log back in – giving your personal information to the hackers. This is called tabnapping and it’s a more sophisticated version of phishing.
How can you stop it happening?
- Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software on your computer – and keep it updated!
- If you’re not sure of the legitimacy of a log-in site, close the tab, open a new one and type in the address of the site you wish to visit.
- Keep an eye out for transactions in your name that you did not make.
Keep anti-malware software installed and updated, and always second-guess before sharing personal information to help protect you and your business from cyber crime.
Emma Speagell is a Bilingual Business Counsellor in the Atlantic Region, where for the past three years she has helped members with a range of issues from CRA audits, to Occupational Health and Safety Compliance, to finding a financing program to help grow their business. Emma enjoys being a helping-hand and a listening ear to our members, and loves hearing their success stories!