Who sent the message?
If you were not expecting something from a family member or friend, it may legitimately be from them, or it could be that their account was hijacked and the message is actually being sent by a cybercriminal hoping to infect your computer and/or steal your information. The easy way to discover whether it is actually from your friend or family member is to call, text, or email the sender and ask.
Be especially wary of emails from friends and family that a) have no subject line, and b) only contain a link or attachment. This is usually evidence for a hijacked account. Be sure to call the person who purportedly sent you the link to discuss the message with them.
If the message and attachments or link come from a company, there is a different set of questions to ask.
Do you use this company?
If not it is probably junk, or worse, a scam.
If you do use the company, were you expecting to receive an email, or other message from them? For example, if you just ordered new work pants and you immediately get an email from the company you purchased the pants from saying here is a copy of your order, it is most likely safe.
If the message comes from a company you do business with but you did not just contact the company, it is time to ask another question.
Why was the message sent?
Any message from a company asking you for sensitive information, telling you to download and fill out a form, telling you to click on their link, or asking you to check out their video or photo is highly suspicious. Always check these messages out before taking any of these actions, and never use information they provide when checking them out.
If the message wants you to link to their site to fill in information, don’t. Instead, using a search engine find the company’s site, log into your account and see if the same questions or requested actions are mentioned there If they aren’t, you know the message was a scam. If the same instructions appear on your account, use the legitimate site to respond – never the link you got in email.
Never use the phone number shown in the message as it may also be fake.
While it can be tempting to just hurry through your email, IM and text messages, haste makes mistakes. It is better to slow down, and take the time to consider the message, check to see if it is legitimate, and act on your own rather than on something you are being steered towards.
Several years ago my email account was hacked and all my contact received suspicious links. Fortunately I was able to alert everyone to the problem before anyone clicked on it.
Since then I have learned a few things. Now I always use a very secure password and all my passwords are different. I watch for phishing site tells and use anti-phishing technology wherever I can.
I also never send a link or attachment without also including something personal like, "When I watched this vid I thought about the karaoke night we all bombed " or "I think you and Frank might like something like this on your trip." I tell all my friends to expect these kinds of personal comments from me. Hackers can't spoof specifics like this, so if my email account ever sends everyone a message with a link but no "flavor" they know it's not me. This way I can help protect my contacts too.
I had a feeling that was what was going on when I kept getting these links for ways to make money from home from my sister in law.....she very rarely sends out any e mail. That confirms it. Thanks alot.
Yeah, that's never ending fight. I am always arguing my parents to don't click on everything you see or you are prompted to do so. Think twice before you click. The problem is that some elderly users (pardon me I don't mean it specifically) can't understand why somebody who is sending them an e-mail should try to obfuscate them and when they read for instance ... you have won a trip to Bahamas just to clik there to download your voucher ... needless to say what follows
Yeah, that's never ending fight. I am always arguing my parents to don't click on everything you see or you are prompted to do so. Think twice before you click.
Yeah, same problem here with my Wife. I call her the "Happy Clicker". Sometimes I think She wants to put Webroot to the ultimate test for blocking malware. lol. She hit a few that Webroot stopped. I keep an eye on her computer by way of the PC Security Console, that she doesn't know about. When your married it doesn't pay to argue, I always lose. (That's what she thinks anyway) lol
Late 2015 5K 27" Mac, 4GHz i7, 16GB RAM, 1TB Fusion Drive, El Capitan, 10.11.6
Windows 7 X 64, 3.4GHz i7, 10GB RAM, 1TB HD
What you do is put WSA in what I call paranoid mode as an Anti-Executable is go into Heuristics and set all to the Max and change the setting to "Warn when new programs execute that are not trusted" then they will say hey what are all these pop-ups please stop them! Just a Joke nothing more.
Microsoft® Windows Insider MVP - Windows Security
I just had a fraudulent purchase show up on my checking account from ABT Electronics. I let them know and they stopped the order immediately. I also canceled my debit card. I wonder if this has anythign to do with the stolen identities from SC taxpayers?