Malware is malicious software created by criminals to infect your computer and/or get your sensitive information and send it back to the creator. It can infiltrate your computer easily and quickly, often without your knowledge at all! Types of malware include computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, spyware, and adware.
You can protect yourself from this by installing software to guard your system and protect you from unwanted applications. Also, do not click on anything sent to you by someone you do not know. Often spam emails can contain attachments that will infect your computer. DON’T click unless you are sure you know the sender and what the attachment is.
Phishing is an electronic scam wherein criminals try to obtain your personal information (credit card information, account numbers, passwords, etc.) by posing as reputable sources. This is usually done using an email that directs you to follow some specific instructions. Phishers create very realistic and legitimate-seeming websites so be careful!
Remember—TWO RIVERS WILL NEVER ASK FOR PERSONAL INFORMATION via email. If you get an email like that from us or anyone else and are unsure of the source, do not respond. Contact them independently through proven means and confirm with them directly.
Also called “domain spoofing,” pharming is the purposeful rerouting traffic to an imposter site that looks identical to the one the user intends to visit. Once there, the site will ask for your bank or credit card information.
If you are being asked for information the bank or credit card company should already know, be suspicious. Verify the domain name and URL to make sure you are on the right site. If you are still unsure, call the company directly and ask.
While phishing is usually a mass email sent to thousands, spear phishing is a customized email sent to a specific person. It usually contains personal information and/or some fact meant to make you feel comfortable and sure that the email is legitimate. It may contain a link or downloadable file. DO NOT DOWNLOAD IT. It is probably malware that will collect your personal information later and send it to back to the scammers.
While spear phishing attacks are almost always directed towards corporations and their employees, you should still be on guard. Report any emails like this to your company’s HR or technical departments. They can help you ascertain if this is a legitimate communication.
Vishing (“voice” + “phishing”) is similar to standard phishing but is done by phone. If you receive a phone call and are told that your credit card has been used illegally or some other story that requires you to tell the caller your account number, credit card information, or other secure data, DO NOT DO IT. They may also give you another phone number to call and give your data.
If you are unsure if this is a legitimate call, hang up and call the bank or credit card company directly with a number you know is correct. They can tell you if the story the caller gave you is true.
Smishing is a phishing scam using SMS text messaging. This is using texts to your cell phone to convince you to go to a website or call a phone number that connects to any automated voice response system. If you get a seemingly urgent text saying you are about to be charged a large amount of money unless you call a certain number or log on to a specific site, watch out. They will probably ask you for your credit information, PIN numbers, or other sensitive information. Do NOT give it to them!
The truth is that most reputable businesses would never contact you about matters this sensitive via text. If you believe the message might be real, contact that vendor or company directly (rather than using the number or site provided) to confirm it.
Credit/Debit Card Skimming
Some thieves might try and attach a card reader or other device to ATMs that will scan the magnetic stripe and obtain your card information and PIN. They can then use your information to create a new card, or sell the information to people who will do this.
To avoid this hazard, make sure you only use ATMs you know and trust. Avoid using machines that are secluded or in dark areas or that do not have cameras, where someone could tamper with them without being noticed. Also, if you notice a change in an ATM (the color of the reader has changed, there is a new gap in the slot or a machine that seems to be taped on), DO NOT USE THIS ATM.
Fake Check Scams
Some criminals can forge extremely realistic cashiers checks. They will use these fake checks to pay for online purchases or may try to pass it off to you as foreign lottery winnings. This scam always involves you being overpaid and having to pay them the difference. Then, when their check bounces, they’re long gone, and you’ve lost whatever money you paid them.
You can avoid this one by using common sense. If you didn’t enter a foreign lottery, how could you have won it? When receiving payment, always insist on payment by traditional means, and never accept a check for more than the amount due.