It is probable that this scenario I am going to paint has happened to your or a loved one in your family. Some random e-mail gets sent to you letting you know that your parents got arrested on their vacation in London and are now presently in jail. The only way for them to get out because they have no access to a phone is for you to wire $15,000 to an undisclosed bank account to get them out of jail. It seems to be fake a first read, but still tugs at your emotions thinking that it just might be true especially if your parents are in fact in London. More and more, we are seeing friends, family, and work colleagues getting their e-mail accounts hacked by people trying sell pills on the internet or getting access to your bank accounts. So, how you can be smart about your money and protect yourself from getting hijacked in the future??
This really struck a nerve for me when my sister’s e-mail account was recently hacked. I got this exact e-mail in my e-mail box:
I tried to get these document across to you before. Did you ever get it? VIEW HERE and sign on with your email to access it as attached on Google.doc, get back to me so we can discuss.
I immediately called my sister to ask her about this because I don’t think a) she has ever used the phrase regards, and b) we don’t share Google documents. Both of these put up a ‘red flag’ for me and after I called her we quickly realized her account had been hacked. What steps can you take if this happens to you?
- Most of these hijackers try to get more information from anyone they can by using a phishing attack. Make sure on your end if any e-mail asks you for your bank account login, credit card login, or PayPal login, be very very suspicious of the origin of the e-mail. They can look very official, so you may want to call the credit card company or bank just to be certain it is for real. Or, you should NOT click the link of the e-mail, but go to the actual URL of the bank, PayPal, etc. and this way you can follow a more normalized process
- Don’t use passwords that have regular dictionary words. The majority of hacking attacks sort through widely used dictionary words and have a greater chance of being broken. Use made up words and this will work better.
- If you do get hacked, let your service provider know immediately. Go to your host company and click the ‘reset password’ button that will allow you to lock the hacker out if they have currently locked you out of your account by changing the password.
- The best passwords have a mix of numbers, characters, and upper and lowercase letter (or made up words). Do not have something simple in place for your password.
- The next layer of security coming out is called two layer authentication and this is making it more and more difficult for hackers. Beyond your user name and password, there will be a code that will generate to your smartphone which will give you another layer of added security.
Getting your e-mail account hacked is never a fun thing to go through for anyone. It can be embarrassing, but by using these smart money move tips you can give yourself some added protection. You never know who is going to go on a phishing expedition, but please don’t fall for the bait.