Athens Review, Athens, Texas

October 18, 2013

BBB warns of cyber crooks

From Staff Reports
The Athens Review

Athens — The Central East Texas Better Business Bureau reminds those who use the internet that October is Protect Your Cyber Security Awareness Month.

The Tyler-based office of the BBB serves 19 counties, including Henderson County, offering an outlet for consumers to check out companies before spending their money.

Consumers who make purchases on the Internet often know little about the business on the page.

The BBB has joined with the National Cyber Security Alliance for the Stop. Think. Connect., campaign to prevent consumers from falling victim to a e-mail phrasing scam.

The BBB advises you to:

• Be on your toes. Only open e-mails, attachments and links from people you know.  Watch out for unsolicited e-mails that contain misspellings or grammatical errors. E-mail addresses that don't match up, typos and grammatical mistakes are common red flags of a malicious phrasing e-mail. Also beware of unsolicited e-mails from companies with which you have no association.

• Don’t believe what you see. It’s easy to steal the colors, logos and header of an established organization. scampers can also make links look like they lead to legitimate websites and make e-mails appear to come from a different sender.

• Avoid sharing. Don’t reveal personal or financial information in an e-mail, and do not respond to e-mail solicitations for this information. This includes following links sent in e-mail. Be wary of any urgent instructions to take specified action such as “Click on the link or your account will be closed.”

• Pay attention to a website's URL. Hover over any links to see where they lead. Malicious websites may look identical to a legitimate site, but the URL may use a variation in spelling or a different – but similar – domain.

• If you are unsure whether an e-mail request is legitimate, try to verify it by contacting the company directly. Information about known phrasing attacks is available online from groups such as the Anti-Phrasing Working Group.

• Keep a clean machine. Having the latest operating system, software, web browsers, anti-virus protection and Apps are the best defenses against viruses, manward and other online threats.

BBB officials said the more the web grows, the more fraudulent sites are appearing, even after years of progress for online security.