There are so many online scams and come-ons these days. The L.A. Times had a good story on Thursday about staying safe online.
The story suggested online caution in general, but didn’t provide any real suggestions about HOW to guard your online activity. Sometimes an offer seems credible. Last month I received a scam email stating that we owed AT&T over a thousand dollars. Well, it just so happens that AT&T is one of our service providers. I went to our bookkeeper and asked if we had somehow missed our payment last month. The email looked valid, and of course, there was a link that they encouraged you to click on.
So here’s easy trick: just roll over any link you want to check into, but don’t click on it. Down at the bottom of the screen, most of the major browsers will show the URL that the link will connect to. If the URL doesn’t match your expectation, DON’T click on it. If it’s supposedly an email from AT&T, then any link within the email would naturally go to some ATT.net or affiliated page. But this one went to some odd looking domain somewhere in Russia (.ru at the end of the domain), and so it was obviously a scam and a link to be avoided.
Not all scam links are dangerous; some are just annoying. But many can infect your computer with nasty code that turns your system into a slave in a spam network, or worse, that lurks and looks for passwords that you enter and then sends them out to waiting hackers who will try to use them to access your bank accounts, hosting accounts, email accounts, etc.
So remember, if you’re not absolutely certan that you’re about to click on a valid, legitimate link…rollover before you click!