Northwest Community Hospital

WIN 2015

Spirit of Women magazine is a national publication presented to women by hospitals and their physicians. The magazine provides up-to-date, evidence-based healthcare information and promotes our hospitals as leaders in women's health excellence.

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2 1 w w w. s p i r i t o f w o m e n . c o m W I N T E R 2 015 S P I R I T O F W O M E N SHUTTERSTOCK "You may not see an immediate impact, but you may be installing a keyword tracker that registers every keystroke you make," says Durst. "From there, it's easy for them to connect the dots on user names, passwords and security questions and to take over your accounts." PROTECTING YOURSELF Both Boys and Durst say there are steps you can take to protect yourself from email scams: • Pay attention to the content and tone of emails that come from your contacts. If it doesn't sound like some- thing that the person would write, it probably isn't for real. If you have any doubts, send your contact a text or call him or her to confirm the message. Don't reply to the email. • Check the "from" address. These spoof emails may have your contact's correct name, but the "from" email address may not match up with his or her actual address. • For emails from companies, look for misspellings, odd syntax and other red flags. • Never click on a link asking you for personal informa- tion. No legitimate business will have you do that. Instead, open a new browser window, type in the name of the business, and then log in at their real website. If your account has been compromised, or if the company is trying to communicate with you, there will be a secure message in your account. • Have an alias email to use when filling out online forms or entry forms at events like home shows. Many companies will sell your address in bulk to other sites, and you can quickly be overwhelmed by spam. • W hen it comes to checking your email, it's hard to know who to trust anymore. That message that looks like it's from your mom or your best friend? It may very well be a fake, designed to look like it's from someone you know so you'll click on a link to a website that loads malware onto your computer. So how do you make sure you spot the phonies without turning a cold shoulder to all of your email cor- respondents? Knowledge is power, say the experts. SCAMMERS CAST A WIDE NET Receiving a spoof email—or hearing from others that they've received an email purporting to come from you—doesn't necessarily mean your email or computer has been hacked, says Rich Boys, product manager at California-based Barracuda Networks Inc., which specializes in IT security. "The biggest thing to remember in this situation is that email is like postal mail," says Boys. "The fact that the envelope says who it is from means nothing. If a spammer can get you to a malicious website, they can install … code that actually reads your email address and your contact list and then sends out the emails from the malware rather than your own email application." And even though you may be very careful about your Internet use, it could have been any number of your contacts, or contacts of your contacts, who visited the site that loaded the malware. "Just think about the hundreds of people who know both you [and the email receiver or sender]," says Boys. "All they need is to be able to get the address book of one of those people, and they have your email and your friends' and family's email addresses, even if the problem didn't originate with something that you did." THE CORPORATE PHISH Another common email scam is a message claiming to be from a company you do business with, such as a bank, your Internet provider or a social networking site. It might tell you that your account has been com- promised, asking you to click on a link to reset your password. From there, you may end up at a site that looks very much like the actual company's site, or even at the real corporate site, but with a popup that is being controlled by the scammers. Christine Durst, an Internet fraud specialist based in Connecticut, says these emails can be devastating because they can lead to actual hacks of your computer. Certain types of email messages should auto- matically set off alarm bells. Some of the most common fake emails include: • An antivirus warning that your computer has been infected and you need to download special software to fx it. • Notifcation that you've won a foreign lottery. • A plea for help from a friend or relative who claims to be stranded on vacation and needs you to send money to him or her immediately. • Details about a refund from the IRS (which doesn't send out unsolicited emails). • "Confrmation" of a purchase you didn't make, with a link you can click to "cancel" the order. • And of course, the eternally popular "Nigerian letter," asking you to help a royal family member move large sums of money to an overseas bank account. TALL tales

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