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From the Tech Desk: Phishing. No fish, just theft.

What is phishing?

Phishing is any fake email, SMS message, or website that impersonates a real person or company in order to steal your personal information. They are designed to look and feel legitimate and can be difficult to spot. Phishing scammers may also call you impersonating a legitimate entity such as Microsoft or the IRS.

Why do they do it?

To rob you. At some point they will ask you to provide a bank account number, credit card, or even to go to CVS to purchase gift cards. DO NOT DO THIS!

Is it illegal?

Phishing is theft and it is 100% illegal. Unfortunately, most of the perpetrators are overseas so it is very difficult to stop them.

How can I protect myself?

Never click links in emails. Never call the numbers provided in emails. If you want to contact a company such as Microsoft, AOL, Verizon, McAfee. to make sure a piece of correspondence is legitimate, call them at their published number. If you are not sure what that number is call directory assistance at 411.

If you receive a threatening call from Microsoft, McAfee, the IRS or any other company telling you they must access your computer for your safety, hang up. Never let anyone you do not know access your computer. Just think about how long you had to wait in a call queue the last time one of them called you.

Remember: Large companies and the government will NEVER call you! They barely answer the phones when you need them!

If you ever have questions about a call, text/SMS, email or other inquiry you receive and want to know if it is legitimate, feel free to call us on the numbers listed above, or at 888-716-7546 from anywhere you are. It is much better to verify that something is legitimate than to be scammed.


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