Do you remember when you were younger and went trick or treating for Halloween? Did one of your parents check the candy packaging to see if it had been tampered with my someone? Or were they overly cautious of which neighborhoods or houses you went to? When I was a kid, I remember thinking “why would someone put a razor in a candy bar?” But hey, there are strange people out there! In a similar fashion of being cautious with “free” Halloween candy we must also remain cautious of “free” --well, free anything to be truthful--on the internet or in traditional mail.
Here are a few snippets from conversations I’ve had this past week, followed by some tips for you.
I was talking to a gentleman who works IT for his employer. He was telling me they will send out various type of “test” emails to try and fool the employees into clicking on fraudulent emails. He shared that it is surprising how easy it is to fool people and the employees are lucky that it is only a test. They have a mantra they use for the employees of “don’t click on it, pick up the phone and call instead”.
Speaking of making a phone call:
I was talking with another gentleman who received an email from the IRS. He told me it looked threatening and he was concerned. He called the number in the email and was a bit surprised why the lady on the phone didn’t know his information. He said he just hung up then. It was good that he didn’t share any of his personal information and it was good that he just hung up. However, the error that was made was calling the number provided in the email. If you want to call the IRS (or anyone else for that matter), look up the phone number on your own. Don’t trust what is sent to you and that goes for regular snail mail items too!
Here is an article I ran across (it’s a 2 minute read) with tips to help you protect yourself: https://www.araglegal.com/individuals/learning-center/topics/protecting-your-identity/cyber-crime-prevention
The high points of the article:
- Make sure your security software is current – and update regularly.
- This includes updating on your phones and tablets too. And for my mother’s benefit: Yes! You might have to do this every-single-day!
- Lock or log off your computer when you step away.
- Go offline when you don’t need an internet connection.
- Take advantage of security settings.
- Consider sharing less online.
- Think twice about using public wi-fi.
- When in doubt, don’t click. (I think I’ve heard this one before.)
Please remember that we are “here” and available for you as well. If you have any questions or concerns, financial or otherwise, please do not hesitate to call or email. If you have friends, family, or neighbors you feel would benefit from a conversation with me, I’m more than happy to have a call or jump on a Zoom meeting with them.
As always, I hope that you are doing well, and staying safe & healthy!