Internet Security

Mary Kelly, MBA

WIRE FRAUD ALERT. Criminals are hacking email accounts of real estate agents, attorneys, title companies and others, resulting in fraudulent wire instructions being used to divert funds to the account of the criminal. You are advised not to open emails from senders that you do not know. Often emails that look legitimate are not legitimate, so you also need to be careful about opening emails from people that you think you know.

You are advised not to wire any funds without personally speaking with the intended recipient of the wire to confirm the routing number and the account number. But do not call any numbers you are asked to call in a voice message or in an email to verify. Only call phone numbers on your bank statements or the back of your credit cards. In other words, call only the numbers you have been given by your financial institutions or the businesses you patronize. This means that when you are asked to call, don’t call the number you are asked to call…..Find the number on your bank statement or the number on the back of your credit card….Find the actual number of the business, and call it instead of the number you have been given.

You should not send personal information such as Social Security Numbers, bank account numbers and credit card numbers except through secured email or personal delivery to the intended recipient. 

Also, you are advised not to use a debit card to pay over the phone or on the internet for anything for any reason. Money is deducted from your checking or savings account immediately when you use a debit card, and your financial institution is not obligated to reimburse withdrawn funds from your accounts. (You have some protection if you use credit cards. Ask your financial institution about this.)

You have to be careful who you trust! There are a lot of people with fake identities on social media sites (like Facebook) who are spammers, scammers, and hackers. There are also people with fake identities posting spam comments to websites all over the internet (and that needs to be the topic of another post). These spammers, scammers, and hackers can also infect your cell phone (and that, too, is another topic). Spams, scams, and hacks are causing big problems in today’s world, and if you don’t know much about internet security (and cell phone security), you might be vulnerable to spams, scams, and hacks.

One of the best things you can do is to take the time now to look up the correct numbers to all the financial institutions and businesses you patronize, make a list of them, and keep them handy in case you need them. Just don’t be fooled by spammers, scammers, and hackers!

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