Email and phishing scams are certainly nothing new. However, they seem to be on the rise lately and getting more diverse and sophisticated. There has also been a specific malware campaign targeting US-based organizations that’s been identified, which you can read more about here. Staying safe from these types of scams requires vigilance, common sense, and knowledge about what to watch out for. Here are some tips to keep you and your company from being compromised.

Don’t Open Random Attachments

These scams can be sneaky. You may get an attachment that appears to be from someone you know that is actually a scam. If you get an attachment from someone you don’t know, never open it. If the attachment appears to be from someone you know, send them a message asking them to verify they sent an attachment before you open it.

Don’t Allow Office Document Macros to Run

A macro is a bit of code or series of commands that is recorded so it can be executed again at a later time without you having to do all the work. While they can be a great time saver, they  can also be dangerous. Unless you can personally verify that a macro is legitimate, don’t let it run on your computer. These have become common malware vectors.

Don’t Divulge Sensitive Information Via Email

If you get asked for sensitive information such as credit card numbers, health information, social security number, or other private information via email, don’t send it. This is especially true when the requester is a source you don’t know or don’t trust. Even if the ask comes from someone you know, find a phone number on their website or another reliable source to verify who they are and give the information to them verbally. Don’t call phone numbers listed in the email as they could easily be part of the scam.

Watch Out for Easy to Identify Red Flags

Some scams are very well written and executed and it’s virtually impossible to tell they aren’t legit simply by reading them. Others, however, are not. If you get an email that has a sense of urgency and is demanding you do something, it’s likely a scam. Emails that have obvious errors are also easy to spot as scams. If you get an email with grammar issues, mistakes in your name, or other red flags, consider them a scam and don’t respond.

Be Careful with Social Media

Do you post a lot of updates on your personal life on social media so your friends and family members always know what you’re up to? Attackers and scammers can also see this information and use it to craft very convincing targeted emails to you. Be careful what you post and check to make sure you have the highest privacy settings in place on all your social pages. And remember, even if an email seems legit, it always pays to check it out via a phone call before you divulge any information or take any action. Following these simple guidelines should keep you safe from phishing and email scams. If you do become a victim, however, you need to contact a professional such as those we have on staff at Elkhorn Computers to help you recover.