Keith Becker is a Tech II Software Engineer who specializes in locating and removing computer viruses.

Keith Becker is a Tech II Software Engineer who specializes in locating and removing computer viruses.

Phishing is by definition and attempt to acquire information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Cybercriminals also use social engineering to convince you to install malicious software or hand over your personal information under false pretenses. They might email you, call you on the phone, or convince you to download something off of a website. This time I will focus on the email and social media attacks.

The different types of attacks you are likely to see could span from ups or dhl providing shipment confirmation to a shipment that you haven’t made; to banks having you confirm an amount that has been charged to your account. These change often and can be easily defended against once you know what to look for.

First of all know who is sending you email, if you don’t know the sender don’t open it. In the case that or are sending you a confirmation of a shipment; try to think if you have made a shipment or expecting one. If you haven’t made a shipment or expecting one then it is most likely a scam. These emails usually come with an attachment with a .zip extension. Best practice is to not open any attachments before you check with the sender to see if it is legitimateIn the other case of a bank conformation from any bank email such as “” or “” the best thing would don’t read the email, but if you do have an account call them to verify the charge and amount.

The second way to detect these is by the spelling and grammar, most cybercriminals are not known for their grammar and spelling. Professional companies or organizations usually have a staff of copy editors that will not allow a mass email like this to go out to its users. If you notice mistakes in an email, it might be a scam contact the sender and verify.

Lastly, when talking about the social media scams (i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn) we are talking about posts that offer free ipad or some other offer. Trust the old adage “nothing in life is free”, and “if it is too good to be true, then it probably is.” Also know your friends on social media accounts; generally speaking you the type of people you have on these sites that you follow and know their posting trends. If they post something out of the ordinary then don’t be fooled just ignore it. I will also mention that you should never click any link from anyone it just isn’t worth the risk.