There’s a lot going on in the holiday season, and thieves and scammers like to take advantage of us when we’re not paying close attention. I received an email the other day that looked like it was from PayPal. Thank goodness I knew better than to click on any link in an email from a financial institution.
If you look at the image, you can see one quick technique I use to check before I click on a link in an email. Just HOVER (do not click!) over the button or URL, and the computer will show you the address you will be sent to.
As you can tell, it looks like someone with a website named uptownpaint.com is the real destination of that button, not PayPal. Now I don’t know the good folks at uptownpaint.com, but based on the address I have to tell you it looks like their website has been hacked. It happens all the time. And now these lowlifes are hiding behind uptownpaint.com and trying to steal your information.
Millions of innocent people have their identity stolen on-line every year by hackers who pose as an institution like PayPal. Once you give the thieves your login information, you have practically given them the keys to your house. They can extrapolate from a simple PayPal or bank login account and grab all of your sensitive data. And the worst feeling in the world is when you realize you gave them the information!
The rule of thumb is this: NEVER click on a link in an email that asks you to login to your account, especially if it is from a financial institution like PayPal or your bank. The best thing to do is to call your bank or institution and ask them if the email is valid. Or, you can just use your web browser and log in like you normally do. So long as you don’t click on the link in the email you can safely go to the official website and check to see if they are really needing information from you.
I hope you have a safe and happy holiday this year, but please remember this year-round advice: Always Think Before You Click!