During the holiday season, the number of phishing and scamming emails increase alarmingly!  Nearly 76% of all businesses reported that they have fallen victim to a phishing attempt in the past year, according to Wombat Security State of the Phish.  Phishing attempts are fraudulent emails that appear to come from a reputable company, sent with the goal of revealing personal information, such as passwords and credit card information.  Some attempts, called “spear phishing” attempts, appear to come from a reputable person, such as the CEO of a company.  These scams try to get you to reveal personal or company information, such as passwords, credit card information or confidential company information, that can then be used for fraudulent activity.

Why does this all matter?  Being in the know will help reduce the risk of you and your company falling victim to a phishing attempt.  According to the 2017 FBI Internet Crime Report, phishing scams cost organizations $676 million in 2017.  Having the knowledge and tools to combat phishing attempts will help your company avoid becoming a statistic!

So… how do you avoid becoming a victim?  Here are a few tips for keeping yourself and your company secure from phishing fraud:

1. Use strong passwords.

Passwords should be lengthy and contain numbers, letters and special characters.  Long, nonsense phrases will help keep your password secure.

2. Change your passwords often.

The more sensitive the information, the more often you should change your passwords.

3. Utilize a tool like Inky® Phish Fence to protect company email systems.

Software tools like Inky® Phish Fence help identify and alert users to possible scams. With Inky® Phish Fence, a warning banner appears at the top of any suspicious email.  If there is a “Caution” or “Suspicious” banner, think twice before clicking on any links.  If the email looks suspicious and it wasn’t flagged, click the “Report this Email” button to report this information to Inky®.

4. If it looks suspicious, don’t click it.

When you aren’t sure on the validity of an email, the safest option is to not click on any links.  Email the sender by creating a new email – do not click reply – asking if this email is intended for you.  If you need a second opinion, reach out to your IT Support team for guidance.

5. Check your online accounts regularly.

You should always check your credit card statements each month to ensure you have not fallen victim to a scam.  Periodically logging into your online accounts will also ensure that your accounts have not been compromised.

6. Keep information secure.

You will never be asked to provide any passwords or sensitive information via email by a legitimate organization.  If you receive an email requesting sensitive information, never respond!

Following these simple tips will help your company to not be part of the growing cyber-fraud statistics!  If you have any additional questions or concerns, reach out to your IT Support team for clarification!