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Criminals will use an email, telephone messages (vishing) or text messages on cell phones (Short Message Service or SMShing) to trick recipients into disclosing personal and financial data. Some phishing attempts ask e-mail or text recipients to respond with personal information; and others include links to what appear to be familiar Web sites but are really spoofed copies. Once the user clicks on the link to the spoofed site, all future online activity gets funneled through the phisher’s system, giving him or her access to any account numbers and passwords the user enters online.
To protect yourself from phishing:
· NEVER respond to an e-mail asking you to verify or update your personal information
· Never click on links in unsolicited e-mail that you receive
· Delete any unsolicited e-mails in your e-mail accounts – don’t even open them!
· Protect your passwords. Never write them down or enter them online unless you initiated the transaction.
· Never give out your personal or financial information on the phone or online unless you initiated contact
· Check your credit report at least once annually or sign-up for weekly or monthly alerts through credit management agencies
· At home, use spam blockers, firewalls, virus protection, and adware & malware destroyers
· Update your Operating System whenever security patches are available
Ransomware attacks have relied on a user's clicking on a phishing e-mail or infected website or downloading malicious software. The ransomware would infect individual machines and shared resources to which the user had access rendering them useless until a fee is paid. These attacks can focus on individuals, businesses and industries.
Visit Identitytheft.gov/databreach to learn more about protecting yourself after a data breach.