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What to do when you fall for an email scam

by Brian Cody

Falling for an email scam is something that unfortunately can happen to anyone. It’s a frightening concept, and one that frequently results in undiluted panic. Also known as a phishing scam, an email scam involves using email and fraudulent websites to steal sensitive information such as passwords, credit card numbers, account data, addresses, and more. 

Fraudulent emails are penned to appear legitimate, such as messages from your bank or another trusted source. They request personal information, which criminals then use for identity theft.

So what should you do if you find yourself a victim of an email scam?


Change Passwords

If you’ve clicked the wrong link or provided personal information in response to a phishing scam, change your passwords immediately. This goes for email and all accounts, including bank accounts and PIN numbers. Create strong, complicated new passwords that feature a confusing slew of numbers and symbols. Such passwords are much, much harder for cybercriminals to break.

Contact your bank immediately

Alert your bank and explain the situation. Your details might not have been used yet, but if you feel unauthorized charges are in your future, it’s essential to freeze or cancel your cards. Let your bank know what happened so they can further protect you against any unauthorized access to your finances.  


Update Your Computer

Update your computer software to the newest version and run a comprehensive security scan if you think you’ve infected your system with a virus or other malware. Run a full scan for best results. Additionally, you should use encryption, ensure you have a firewall enabled, and regularly back up personal information on an external hard drive. Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks whenever possible, and if you must use a public connection, select the most secure option. Also, make certain to turn your computer off when not in use, as it’s inaccessible to hackers when powered down.

Check Accounts Regularly

It is always a good idea to monitor your bank accounts and credit cards regularly to be sure no suspicious activity is taking place. If you spot anything suspicious, call your bank to enquire, they are always happy to help.

One last thing to remember is to stay proactive until you’re absolutely certain fraud-related problems have subsided, and know what to look for in the future. The more you educate yourself on phishing and other Internet scams, the less likely it is such problems will occur.  

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