SHCC WYSIWYG Article from September 2016

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This article was written by Don VanSyckel, the club president, as a part of "The President's Pen".  This article appeared in the September 2016 WYSIWYG newsletter.

Phishing, Be On the Alert

by Don VanSyckel

We haven't reminded you about phishing in a while, so here goes. There are some clear steps you can do to protect yourself.

1.Be suspicious of urgent demands for information. Often phishing emails will make some form of urgent request. For example, the email will claim that your account will be terminated if you don't confirm your information. Not using any link in the email, go to the companies official web site, log in, and check the information the email complained about.
2.Look for misspelled words and grammatical errors in the message and hyperlink. Blatant misspelled words and grammatical errors are common in email scams.
3.Never email personal and financial information. Never go to a company web site by clicking a link in a suspicious email. Before submitting financial or account information to a web site, it should be using SSL (indicated by https) to ensure that the transaction is secure. Also never volunteer private information like passwords or social security number to anyone.
4.Almost all legitimate emails will have a specific greeting, like your name and not a general greetings. Many phishing emails begin with a general greeting such as "Welcome eBay User" rather than directly addressing you by name.
5.Contact the company directly. If you have any doubts about an email or web site, open a new browser and visit the company directly to verify web site. Don't be afraid to call customer service about an email.
6.Keep link clicking to a minimum. Itís OK to click on links when youíre on trusted sites. Donít click on links that appear in random emails and instant messages. Hyperlinks are commonly used to lead unsuspecting internet users to phishing web sites. Hover over links that you are unsure of before clicking on them. Look at the URL the link will take you to. The URL is the actual web address that a link will jump you to. Most web browsers and email readers will display the URL when you hover the cursor over the link on the page or email. Many times the URL is displayed in the lower left corner.
7.Much conventional wisdom that still applies today. "If it seems too good to be true, it is" (too good to be true). This fits with no stranger is going to give you a million dollars, nor any friend for that matter. The phisher-men make the bait look very enticing and as with any sport, the more they practice phishing the better they get.

Do your family and friends a favor; share this column with them. Make sure they understand. Your talk with them could save their assets and peace of mind.

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