There are many dangers on the Internet. Antivirus software can help protect you from those dangers. In fact, not having antivirus software on your computer is like walking through a minefield with your eyes closed. It’s that dangerous. There is always a new virus or malware out to get you. There’s always someone trying to spy on you or steal your personal information. There are even viruses out there created for no financial gain but simply to wreak havoc on random computer systems for no other reason than to give the hacker responsible a thrill. Working without antivirus software is simply not a good idea. The threats are very real.


One of the biggest and most prevalent threats out there is the phishing scam. What is a phishing scam?  It works like this. Phishing scams send emails that look like they come from reputable companies you are familiar with. These include banks, credit card companies, online resources, places like Amazon, the IRS, Paypal, etc. The end goal is to get  to trick people into handing out their financial and personal information or getting downloading malware. The illegitimate email might direct you to a malicious website that also looks like it might be a legitimate website. The sole purpose of this website is to get you to log in, thereby giving out your personal login info that can then be used by the person behind the scame. One of the best, and easiest ways to protect yourself from this kind of threat is to never click on links from within your email. Always to go the official site yourself, not by following a link, and make sure to call the company to verify whether or not they sent you an email. In most cases, you will find out that the company doesn’t ever request personal information via email. This is a good time to report the phishing scam too.


How Does a Phishing Scam Get Victims?

Identification hackers send out hundreds of thousands of emails to entice people into clicking. What the scam artist is doing is primarily  looking to gain access to valuable information. Believe it or not, many people fall for these scams. The elderly are particularly vulnerable, especially if they are new to technology. Grandma or grandpa might see an email notice from their bank stating that they are overdrawn. They are likely to want to take care of the issue right away and are likely to click on a link that takes them to a website that looks like their bank’s official site. Here they will be prompted to enter information in order to “resolve” an issue. This is where the hacker gains the personal information they seek. By using websites you are familiar with, scammers are able to get you to trust that you are receiving legitimate requests for your personal information.


How to Avoid Phishing Scams

We’ve already warned you not to click on links inside emails that request personal information, even from companies you now and trust. There are other ways you can avoid falling victim to phishing scams. First, don’t copy unknown links from these suspect emails and put them into your browser. These links will land you on dangerous.
Also, exercise caution when you open or save any document or attachment that comes with suspicious mails. Never respond to any scam mails. This means don’t even call one of the phone numbers they often provide in their emails. Hackers use voice over Internet protocol technology, which prevents anyone from tracing their calls.


If you receive one of these suspect emails, forward them to the government. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and let them know about the scam. Also, inform the company being impersonated that they are part of a phishing scam as well. The more you spread the word about these scams, the less likely they are to continue, even though new ones will always appear.


The biggest thing you can do is ensure you have a good firewall and good antivirus software on your computer. The firewall can help protect you, and most of the best antivirus products on the market include email protection that scans for known phishing attacks and other types of malware that attempts to steal personal information from you. One other thing to be aware of is the security updates on your system and the updates for your browser. There is no way to completely stop receiving emails from hackers, scammers, and phishing expeditions, but you can install antivirus software to help.


Again, though, and this can’t be said enough. Never respond to requests for money, late notices, emails that say you are suspected of a crime and request you owe a fine, emails that say you need to verify your credentials, or any other email for that matter. If you feel an email looking for your personal information is legit, it likely is not. Let that be your default reaction. Assume it is a hacker looking to steal your information. Take a few extra minutes to look up the real phone number of the company in question or manually go to the website yourself, not through the email in question. Don’t touch the suspect email and as soon as you have forwarded it to authorities and informed any companies being impersonated, then you can delete the email permanently.


Norton Antivirus, Trend Micro Titanium Internet Security, and Kaspersky Internet Security all have great email protection as well as real time malware protection. PC Privacy Shield can help block against phishing scams as well. Always protect your computer with the best antivirus software and a firewall, be cautious of suspicious emails, and never send personal information requested from anyone. There will always be someone out there trying to take your money or steal your identity for illegal purposes. Don’t fall victim to them. At SaveOnIt, we are here to help you answer questions about security issues, malware and viruses, and all of the ways available to help you protect yourself from online threats. Let us help you today.