Tips for Staying Safe Online During the Holidays

Tis the season to spread holiday cheer, spend time with your family, and to receive hundreds of spam and phishing emails. This holiday season we want to remind our members to be extra cautious of what emails they receive and click on. We hope that with a little information you can avoid a Grinch that may want to steal your good cheer.

What is a phishing email? A phishing email is an email sent by spammers to lure you into clicking on something so that they can either get access to your device or get your personal information. They achieve this by disguising (or spoofing) their emails as well-known entities such as the IRS, retailers, or financial institutions. To help protect yourselves we suggest you follow these basic guidelines.

Be cautious about opening any attachments or clicking on any links. These are the most common ways the attacker will gain access to your device. On your computer, you can easily spot a bad link in an email by simply hovering your cursor over the link without clicking on it. This will show you exactly where the link is trying to take you no matter what link may suggest.

Be leery of unexpected emails. Did you receive an email from Walmart asking to update the payment information even though you haven’t recently made a purchase? You may want to take caution before proceeding.

Never use a link from an email to login. If you received an email from a company stating you have a new item available and next to it is a link to login, never click the link to login. Instead, open a browser and go to the website yourself. This will ensure you are not redirected to a fake website and unknowingly provide the attacker with your login information.

Even though an email can look legitimate, take the time to check everything out before clicking on anything. And remember, we at GCS will never send you an email asking for your personal information. If you do receive an email from us and are unsure about it, please give us a call at 618-797-7993 to talk to one of our representatives.

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