Be Careful What You Click

Be Careful What You Click

By Brian C. Caffrey, Esq.

It used to be that scams were often perpetrated through the telephone. Now scams and all sorts of digital trickery are carried out through the Internet, particularly through e-mail. Most of us have come to realize that we should never open a bizarre looking e-mail from someone we don't recognize, let alone open any purported document attached to such an e-mail. Even when an e-mail is from someone we know, we don't open the e-mail if the "subject" field doesn't make sense or is out of character for our acquaintance.

Of course, today's hackers and scammers are getting more sophisticated all the time. Many e-mails are disguised as sites or services many of us routinely use, such as PayPal. If the subject field contains "Your Account" and you don't have an account there or haven't ordered anything from the site recently, it's a good idea to delete the e-mail.

Scammers have graduated to malware and ransomware. If you open or click on the wrong thing, your account or entire computer could be gone.

As with so many other things in our lives, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and caution is advisable.

Don’t ever give out personal information, such as Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, or dates of birth, over the internet. As the PA Attorney General says on his web site, “Legitimate businesses do not ask consumers to verify account information via cold calls or emails.” The Attorney General also recommends that you not trust caller ID on your phone or respond to robo calls.

There are also a number of affordable, and even free computer security programs which can detect and eliminate viruses, malware and ransomware. If you don’t feel confident in choosing or downloading such a program, consult and IT (information technology) professional.

The Attorney General of PA has many law enforcement resources at his disposal to investigate and fraud. The AG has helpful telephone numbers and e-mail addresses to enable you to report fraud. You can also all the AG’s office.

The problem with holding scammers accountable is that they could be calling you from Siberia or Africa. Prevention, awareness, and vigilance are crucial.

If law enforcement is unable to help you, call our office at 717 775 7195 for a free consultation, and we’ll discuss what remedies might be available to you.

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