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How Can I Protect Myself from Digital Deception?

 

Digital Deception Imagine that you receive an email with an urgent message asking you to verify your banking information by clicking on a link. Or maybe you get an enticing text message claiming that you’ve won a free vacation to the destination of your choice — all you have to do is click on the link you were sent. In both scenarios, clicking on the link causes you to play right into the hands of a cybercriminal seeking your sensitive information. Just like that, you’re at risk for identity theft because you were tricked by a social engineering scam.

Social engineering attacks are a form of digital deception in which cybercriminals psychologically manipulate victims into divulging sensitive information. Cybercriminals “engineer” believable scenarios designed to evoke an emotional response (curiosity, fear, empathy, or excitement) from their targets. As a result, people often react without thinking first due to curiosity or concern over the message that was sent. Since social engineering attacks appear in many forms and appeal to a variety of emotions, they can be especially difficult to identify.

Take steps to protect yourself from a social engineering scam. If you receive a message conveying a sense of urgency, slow down and read it carefully before reacting. Don’t click on suspicious or unfamiliar links in emails, text messages, and instant messaging services. Hover your cursor over a link before clicking on it to see if it will bring you to a real URL. Don’t forget to check the spelling of URLs — any mistakes indicate a scam website. Also be sure to look for the secure lock symbol and the letters https: in the address bar of your Internet browser. These are signs that you’re navigating to a legitimate website.

Never download email attachments unless you can verify that the sender is legitimate. Similarly, don’t send money to charities or organizations that request help unless you can follow up directly with the charitable group.

Be wary of unsolicited messages. If you get an email or a text that asks you for financial information or passwords, do not reply — delete it. Remember that social engineering scams can also be used over the phone. Use healthy skepticism when you receive calls that demand money or request sensitive information. Always be vigilant and think before acting.

 

View the full 2018 Quarter 2 Newsletter here

 

This information, developed by an independent third party, has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. and The Shobe Financial Group does not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. This information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. All information and opinions are as of this date and subject to change at any time without notice. Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. does not provide advice on tax, legal or mortgage issues. These matters should be discussed with the appropriate professional. Some of the content included was prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. © Copyright 2006-2015 Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.

Posted April 18, 2018 in Business Press Releases