>At least once a week I receive an e-mail message warning me about recent suspicious activity on an account I have somewhere. I am then advised to click on a link to verify my account information. This is always followed by a threat to suspend my account if I fail to immediately act on the request.
Please, I think whist rolling my eyes.
We've all heard about this criminal activity and I believe it's called phishing. Each time I receive one, after the ceremoneous rolling of my eyes I wonder how many people are fooled into believing these messages are legit. Worried, they click on the supplied link to address the problem.
Based on what I know (research) messages of this nature do not originate from the company named within. Criminal intent is the name of the game and someone is banking (pardon the pun) on hitting an uninformed individual who will open the door to their personal and financial information. Education is the best protection against these thieves, and as long as they believe people will respond to their messages they will continue to persue their next victim.
What to do.
Never click on the link provided. Ever. Because it will not take you to the company's website. Anyone can have a website these days and that link is pointing to a very bad place to be avoided. Period. The URL behind that link never points to the company's website. Best thing to do is to forward the message to the company it claims to be from. Any reputable company doing business on the internet will have resources available to their customers for combating this type of activity. Take a few minutes, after you close the message, to visit the company's website so you can determine the best course of action. Most will provide an e-mail address and instruct you to forward the message to them. After you forward the message, delete it from your e-mail. The company will reply, confirm the message is a scam, and provide you with further information on their policies and practices for addressing this problem.
Trust me, if there really was suspicious activity on your account, the company will likely contact you by phone. They need to talk to you and the telephone is the tool they will use.
This type of activity can also be reported to the FBI at a special website they have set up to combat this type of criminal activity. <Click me> to visit the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center.
Don't be fooled or taken in by criminals. Arm yourself with information and stay aware. These are easy steps to take toward your future. We all have worked hard to get where we are, and we will not allow any one to mess with our lives or our plans.
** Education is the best provision for old age.**