How many of us receive e-mail on a monthly basis from our financial institution? With the technology that we have today I am guessing that most of us receive statement notifications electronically instead of via the post office. How many of us can actually tell whether or not the e-mail received is legitimate or from someone trying to obtain the username and password to your account? There are a few signs that you should look for before clicking on a link in any e-mail you receive.
- Did the e-mail come from someone you know?
- If you don’t recognize the e-mail address or the sender you may want to think twice before clicking on the link or opening the attachment.
- Does the e-mail contain spelling and grammatical errors?
- Even though many of us may not have perfect grammar excellent spelling skills, if you receive an e-mail from a professional organization- the grammar and spelling should be accurate.
- Does the URL in the e-mail appear to go to a legitimate web site?
- If the e-mail comes from your financial institution the URL should appear to send you to a website hosted by your financial institution.
- Does the attachment in the e-mail have a double file extension?
- Is the title something like “OpenMe.doc.exe? If this is the case then you definitely don’t want to open that attachment.
- My mom just sent me a PDF file titled “Angry Little Man”. Should I open it?
- Well, this depends. If your mom is constantly spamming you with e-mail that has changed her life then you could possibly open the attachment and be comfortable with the fact that it is safe. If you never receive e-mail from your mom you may want to call her and ask her if she sent you the attachment. Then again, you may want to think about how many times you have had to rid your mom’s computer of malware before you open that file. Files that are attached to e-mail can often times contain malicious code that is embedded in the attachment that will install a virus or malware as soon as it is opened. Only open attachments from people that you know and trust.
- If you ever receive an executable (.exe) file in an e-mail leave it alone.
- Just delete the e-mail and move on with your day. It’s not worth it!
The best advice I can give is to be aware of what you are clicking on. If you don’t know where it came from: leave it alone. If you are concerned that it is something you have been waiting for all of your life, contact that organization to find out if they sent the e-mail. I don’t know of a single financial institution that will send you an e-mail asking to provide your username and password…”Click Here”. Don’t do it! While it is not 100% effective you must have an anti-virus program installed on your computer. In fact…don’t just install it, but make sure it is up to date and is actually scanning for malicious files.