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Subject Line: How To Avoid Email Scams. Important Information for Seniors! 

Email attacks are more than commonplace these days; they are an unfortunate way of life for those who use email and the internet. Predators and scammers have honed their digital skills, bringing carefully crafted scams into the digital age. While telephone scams still threaten seniors, email allows for broader, more sophisticated attacks. 

Statistics show that over 90% of security breaches originate in emails. Sadly, almost all of them rely on humans to execute them. This approach to hacking is called Social Engineering. Their goal is to trick you into clicking malicious links or visiting malicious websites so they can steal your information, your passwords, account numbers, and your social security number.

Terminology 

It is important to arm yourself with a basic vocabulary of terms to help you understand the types of internet-based attacks and scams you may encounter.

  • Malware -‘Malware’ is a portmanteau for malicious software. It describes any rogue software unintentionally installed on your computer designed to cause intentional harm to your computer and includes such categories as viruses, ransomware, spyware, adware, and Trojan horses.
  • Computer virus- A computer virus is a specific type of digital malware that, upon execution, replicates itself and inserts harmful code into your computer’s software, ‘infecting’ it. Computer viruses can cause a range of damage to your PC, from slowing it down to corrupting or deleting your files.
  • Phishing- Phishing is a specific type of cybercrime that attempts to lure an individual into providing specific personally identifying information such as bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, or passwords in an attempt to gain access to your accounts. Often these types of scams are presented as legitimate emails from legitimate businesses or organizations you may do business with. 
  • Cybercrime or cyber scam- A cybercrime or cyber scam is a broad term for any type of malicious attack performed digitally. These may come in as emails, text messages, or phone calls. 

Here are five smart things you can do to recognize and avoid these types of online attacks.

  1. If you receive an email or text from someone you don’t know asking for personal information like banking numbers, passwords, etc. ignore it, and report it to the institution. 
  2. If you receive an email with a bill or an invoice you don’t recognize. Don’t pay for it. It’s likely fake.
  3. If you receive an email that asks you for your username or password or tells you they are about to expire, do not respond. No reputable source will ever ask you for your password… EVER.
  4. If they offer you anything for free. It’s not. Don’t believe it. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  5. They claim there is a problem with your account. It’s going to expire unless you act now. BEWARE of calls for urgency!

These bad actors are getting good at tricking us! It is important to protect yourself against these assaults. And your best protection is knowledge and vigilance. 

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