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Protect Your Business from Phishing

It happens to the best of us. You've just finished conducting your business for the day through Paypal. As you check your email one last time before shutting down for the night, you notice a new email from Paypal stating that as part of one of their standard system upgrades, they are asking all users to log in and verify their personal data. Without thinking (after all you're exhausted after a very long day), you click the link and try to log into Paypal. The login fails. After a few seconds, it dawns on you you've just been phished.

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Phishing (pronounced as "fishing") is defined as the act of sending an email to a recipient under the guise of coming from an established, legitimate business. The intent of the phisher is to scam the email recipient into surrendering private details, and to ultimately steal your identity and/or your money.

Phishing can be quite damaging for individuals, but even more so for businesses who are depending on profit for the daily necessities of running the business. And to make matters worse, it isn't as easy to recognize a phishing email as you might think. At first glance, the email looks like it comes from a legitimate company. The "From" field of the e-mail may have the .com in the sender's address. The clickable link even appears to take you to the company's website. In fact, it is a fake look-alike website built to replicate the legitimate one.

Many of these scammers are professional criminals. They have spent a great deal of time and energy creating emails and websites that look authentic. Users need to carefully review all emails that request personal information. When reviewing your email, remember that the "From" field can easily be changed by the sender. While it may appear that it is coming from a .com that you do legitimate business with, this is part of the deception. The phisher will even copy logos or images from the official websites to use in their emails. Finally, they also try to include a clickable link that the recipient can conveniently click on to update their personal information.

An excellent way to check the legitimacy of the link is to point at the link with your mouse but don't click. If you look at the bottom left-hand side of your screen, the actual website address you will be directed to will show up for you to view. This is a very quick and easy way to know if you are being directed to a legitimate site or not. However look at the link carefully. Sometimes phishers will make their fraudulent website's link name even appear very similar to the legitimate website's link name so look at the link very carefully.

Better yet follow the golden rule. Never click on links within the text of an e-mail, and simply delete the email immediately. If you believe that it might have been a legitimate notice, simply open a browser and go to the website of the company that sent you the email. Log into your account and check for yourself. This is the only way to be absolutely certain that you are logging into the actual website and not a fraudulent site created by a criminal who is intent on obtaining your private information.

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Posted in Real Estate Post Date 06/12/2016


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