I always thought computers were going to make our lives so much easier. Where so many things would be simple to find, we could stop our reliance on paper and shopping could be a breeze.
WOW! Have things changed. We now live in a new technological world where “let the buyer beware” is the rule of the day. The crooks have taken over the World Wide Web. Just yesterday, I found out I had relatives in Nigeria. Their bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria, wants to deliver to me an ATM card that some person I know wants me to have. It is connected to an account with $10.5 million and it’s all mine. Just reconfirm my name, address and cell number. Of course, they will also need my social security number.
This is just one form of Phishing: “The attempt to acquire information, and many times money, by acquiring usernames, passwords, and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic environment."
Lately, the face of these emails has become much more sophisticated than I have ever seen. Special ones are being sent to businesses with the intention of procuring checking account and routing numbers. Like the one addressed to me from the Internal Revenue Service with my company name on top. The message: “Your Federal Tax remittance (ID: 042810458186), recently ordered for processing from your checking account was not approved by Internal Revenue Service payment processing unit"
Members of our office have received dozens of these emails, especially from social media sites (confirming addresses, account numbers and credit card numbers), E-Bay, phony credit card company sites, and even one of our local banks.
What can you do? First of all, do not open the suspicious email -- delete it. Secondly, if you think it is from a credit card company or business you deal with, delete the message and contact the company directly and ask for your own balances and whether they did send out a recent piece of correspondence to you. Make sure you have a good spam filter on your computer which will reduce the chance they can hit your inbox.
What I am learning from some of our insurance carriers is that many of the computer hackers are from foreign countries looking to garner money for terrorist activities. Keep your guard up at all times and ask questions before giving out your personal information.