Be Aware of Hurricane Irene Phishing Scams
Emailing is a powerful and convenient tool to use when communicating. Unfortunately, cyber criminals and scammers use emails as a means of luring potential victims. Their main goal is to trick people into divulging sensitive information.
Reports of phishing scams and malware campaigns that relate to topics that are of high interest to the news media or United States Government, like Hurricane Irene, tend to increase.
Cyber criminals masquerade as trustworthy entities and use phishing in an attempt to acquire your usernames, passwords, and credit card details.
Social networks are the prime target of phishing.
It is critical that you exercise caution in handling your emails even if an email appears to originate from a trusted source. Be especially cautious of the attachments and hyperlinks related to Hurricane Irene.
The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) encourages everyone to follow preventive measures to provide protection from phishing scams and malware campaigns. The following is a few guidelines to help you in being safe:
- Don’t follow unsolicited web links that are in email messages
- Make sure you have an up-to-date antivirus program running on your computer
- Be cautious of email attachments
- Report any phishing to US-CERT by sending them an email: email@example.com
Protecting yourself from email scams is an ongoing process and requires us to be aware of the potential of online predators and the tactics they use. This is why the US-CERT reminds us to be vigilant for potential cyber attacks and activity of individuals who are seeking to capitalize on the interest of Hurricane Irene.
It’s also important to be aware that phishing attacks that appear to come from charities and organizations may, in fact be a cyber scammer. These attackers often take advantage of major political elections, holidays, economic concerns, health scares and epidemics, and natural disaster.
Above all, do NOT provide personal information about yourself or organization.
Do NOT include your entire birth date, phone number, and address on emails or social networks.
Change your passwords periodically to avoid being hacked.
It’s unfortunate, but it’s reality. There are criminals on the Internet just like there are unlawful people in our cities and surrounding areas where we live.
Protect yourself, your family, and your business from scams that come in the form of emails. Take the advice of professionals who are looking out for your best interest.