By: Justin M. Kennedy, Associate Attorney
Litherland, Kennedy & Associates, APC, Attorneys at Law
While at a national conference, I heard a seminar on how to protect your family in a digital world. What follows are some of the tips and strategies provided by the speaker, Jeff Lanza, a Retired FBI Agent, on how to better protect yourself and your family:
1. Do no click on links in emails from unknown senders.
2. Even if you know the sender, you should be cautious before clicking links, as the sender’s account may have been hijacked.
3. If you receive a Notification Email, whether from a bank or social networking site, please do not click on links within that email. Hackers are getting incredibly accurate with duplicating the look and text of the correspondence put out by the real companies. However, links within those fraudulent notification emails will direct you to fraudulent sites. The web addresses of these fraudulent sites may be a single letter different from the site you would expect, such as facebock.com (did you notice the “c” rather than “o” in facebook?). However if you attempt to log in to that fraudulent site, you will be providing your username and password to the hacker and you may also be installing a virus onto your computer. Rather than clicking on links within the email, open a web browser and navigate directly to the site. The easiest way to do this is to store the actual web address as a favorite or bookmark.
4. Be EXTREMELY SKEPTICAL of money transfer requests. Often the request comes from a friend or family member’s account asking for you to wire transfer money to them because the individual is in “an emergency situation”. These are almost always a scam. Always independently contact the person over the phone or through a different method of communication before sending any money. Even multi-billion dollar companies have fallen for this type of scam where an employee (usually late on a Friday or over the weekend) receives a fraudulent email from the CEO requesting that the employee wire transfer millions of dollars to the CEO so that the CEO may finalize an agreement with an international business partner.
5. Use strong passwords with at least eight characters including upper and lower case, numbers and symbols. Use different passwords for your various accounts. Consider using a password management program to store all of your passwords.
The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center www.ic3.gov allows you to file complaints of internet fraud. In addition, you may see the annual reports of the most common forms of fraud.
For more information from Jeff, please see the handouts on his website: http://www.thelanzagroup.com/jeff-lanza-speaking-topics/