Cybercrime and Phishing

This information is always worth repeating. The following was captured from the Prescott Computer Society ( Messenger. The first 7 items were originally written by Kathy Frey, Member, Computer Club of Green Valley, AZ, ( as found in the Summer 2015 edition of Green Bytes, the club newsletter. At one time or another we all will be a victim of some form of Cybercrime and Phishing. The use of any preventive product is of little help if you don't practice safe computing. Help protect yourself:

1. Watch out for "phishy" emails. The most common form of phishing is emails pretending to be from a legitimate retailer, bank, organization, or government agency. Delete them. Do not open them.

2. Don't click on links within emails that ask for your personal information.

3. Beware of "pharming." This was also known as redirect. In this version of online ID theft, a virus or malicious program is secretly planted in your computer and hijacks your Web browser. When you type in the address of a legitimate Web site, you're taken to a fake site without realizing it. Malicious programs can be either spyware, adware or malware. Run your spyware scanning programs. Malwarebytes is a recommended program.

4. Never enter your personal information in a popup screen.

5. Only open email attachments if you're expecting them and know what they contain.

6. Phishing also happens by phone. You may get a call from someone pretending to be from a company or government agency, making various kinds of false claims and asking for your personal information. Quite often it is about some problem with your computer. There is no way they can possibly know if you even own a computer. If you have caller ID, screen your calls, and do not answer calls from phone numbers you do not recognize.

7. If someone contacts you and says you've been a victim of fraud, verify the person's identity before you provide any personal information. Get a phone number and call them back. Or call who they are supposed to represent and ask if that business is making those kinds of calls.

8. Report phishing, whether you're a victim or not. Tell the company or agency that the phisher was impersonating.

9. Don't be embarrassed, take action immediately if you've been hooked by a phisher. If you provided account numbers, PINS, or passwords to a phisher, notify the companies with whom you have the accounts right away. For information about how to put a "fraud alert" on your files at the credit reporting bureaus, contact the Federal Trade Commission's ID Theft Clearinghouse,

Most Recent Scam Alerts from the Federal Trade Commission: (For the following articles, paste the title into a search bar in your browser) Stand up to fake debt collectors - April 10, 2015 Unlocking the code - April 3, 2015 The FTC didn’t send that sweepstakes letter - April 2, 2015 Scammers play name game and get caught - March 27, 2015 An invoice today gets the doctor to pay - March 26, 2015 Reluctant to be rude? - March 25, 2015 Don’t pay for a vacation to nowhere - March 19, 2015 It’s the IRS calling…or is it? - March 12, 2015 Cleaning up without getting cleaned out - March 6, 2015

10. When shopping online be careful and look for boxes that are pre-checked for you to receive offers from them or their partners. Be sure to uncheck the boxes and opt-out if you don't want to receive any communications. Even legitimate retailers count on you not unchecking the boxes to opt-out.