Last spring, we wrote an article providing tips to help prevent falling prey to common financial scams. Many of these scams happen over email and, sadly, even the most diligent of us make mistakes. If you ever find yourself in the unfortunate position of being scammed via email, here are five steps you should quickly take.
1. Don’t panic. First, make sure you have been phished. Merely opening a phishing email and reading it will not affect your computer. Nor will accidentally downloading a .zip file that contains malware. It’s only when you unzip the file and then open the document or program inside then you are likely compromised. Knowing the difference can save you from unnecessary stress.
2. Disconnect the computer or device from the Internet or network. If you suspect you’ve been phished and are using a desktop or laptop, immediately unplug the ethernet cable. If you are on WiFi, pull up the menu and turn it off or disconnect from the network. Scan for viruses. Most computers have virus scanning tools built in. Locate yours and run a comprehensive virus scan.
4. Change passwords and alert banking institutions. If the phishing email sent you to a phony site and asked you to enter credentials, it probably captured that information. Change all usernames passwords for important sites. If you entered credit card or banking information, alert those companies.
5. Report to the authorities. Alert your local police department and forward the email to the Federal Trade Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you think your identity has been stolen, go to www.identitytheft.gov and follow the instructions.
This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. (C) Twenty Over Ten
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