How to Protect Your Online Presence and Avoid Scams
A number of scams have targeted our community in recent months. The Escambia County Sheriff's Office would like to remind you to never provide personal or identifying information over the telephone and to never wire money requested over the phone or in an email, especially to a foreign address.
Common scams are the IRS imposter scam, Grandparent scam, Lottery and Sweepstakes scams, Publisher's Clearing House scams, and various internet loan scams. For a list of common scams and ways to avoid them and protect yourself, please visit the following resources from the FTC.
If you receive a scam via email, the email will often appear to be from someone you know. Additionally, the content of the scam email will be very vague, asking you to open an attachment or click a link.
When you open the attachment or click a link, the virus or malware will attack your computer or electronic device. This will result in the compromise of your personal information--for example, identity, bank accounts, contact lists, and passwords.
If emails you receive look suspicious, pay attention to the sender's complete email address for verification. A phishing email will often contain minor changes to the sender's email address, in addition to odd spelling or strange formatting.
If you become the victim of a hacked email account, here are some steps you can take to help remedy the situation.
1. Disconnect your computer from the internet, then scan and clean it with your anti-virus program. Call a professional for help as needed.
2. Change your password; and if you used the same passwords for other accounts, change those as well! Each password should be unique. Don't reuse passwords.
3. Contact your financial institutions--banks, credit card companies, etc.
4. Notify people you know. They may receive spam emails from you with links/attachments, so inform them to not click anything.
5. Change your security questions.
6. Report the hack to your email provider.
7. Create a new email account.
8. Contact credit agencies.
9. Consider your ID protection options.
If you are concerned that you are a victim of identity theft,
visit the FTC's resource https://identitytheft.gov/
for more information on the next steps to take.
A Good Rule of Thumb Regarding Scams
IF SOMETHING SEEMS SUSPICIOUS OR APPEARS TO BE
TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS!