Beware: Phishing emails, links, or phone calls!! Learn how to recognise and ignore!

Think Cirrus/ Brace yourself scammers are coming meme

A few weeks ago, one of our clients had an issue with their MacBook Pro – they had become completely locked out. When they attempted to log in a ransom message appeared outlining the need to pay $50 to unlock the MacBook. We have subsequently learned that our client had opened a phishing email – which meant that the hackers managed to acquire our client’s username and password.

We then thought we’d try and advise you all on what to look out for because anyone with a pc, mac or desktop and an internet connection can send and receive emails. And we don’t need the negative presence of phishers, hackers and people up to no good to ruin our lives.

Phishing email messages, websites, and phone calls are designed to steal money. Cyber criminals can do this by installing malicious software on your computer or stealing personal information off your computer.

What does a phishing email message look like?

We couldn’t get hold of the original phishing email, so here is an example of what a phishing scam in an email message might look like:

(Image Courtesy of Microsoft)

Things to look out for:

Spelling and bad grammar

Cybercriminals are not known for their grammar and spelling. Professional companies or organizations usually have a staff of copy editors that will not allow a mass email like this to go out to its users. If you notice mistakes in an email, it might be a scam.

Beware of links in email

If you see a link in a suspicious email message, don’t click on it. Rest your mouse (but don’t click) on the link to see if the address matches the link that was typed in the message. In the example below the link reveals the real web address, as shown in the box with the yellow background. The string of cryptic numbers looks nothing like the company’s web address.

Links might also lead you to .exe files. These kinds of file are known to spread malicious software.

 

Threats

Have you ever received a threat that your account would be closed if you didn’t respond to an email message? The email message shown above is an example of the same trick. Cybercriminals often use threats that your security has been compromised.

Spoofing popular websites or companies.

Scam artists use graphics in email that appear to be connected to legitimate websites but take you to phony scam sites or legitimate-looking pop-up windows.

Cybercriminals also use web addresses that resemble the names of well-known companies but are slightly altered.

Phishing phone calls – don’t give out personal info

Cybercriminals might call you on the phone and offer to help solve your computer problems or sell you a software license. Neither Microsoft nor our partners make unsolicited phone calls (also known as cold calls) to charge you for computer security or software fixes.

Once they’ve gained your trust, cybercriminals might ask for your user name and password or ask you to go to a website to install software that will let them access your computer to fix it. Once you do this, your computer and your personal information is vulnerable.

Treat all unsolicited phone calls with scepticism. Do not provide any personal information.

Phishing scams – recognise and report

If you receive a fake phone call, take down the caller’s information and report it to your local authorities – you can report fraud as well as unsolicited calls.

Here at Think Cirrus we’re a Microsoft Cloud Partner – so whenever you receive a phone call or see a pop-up window on your PC and feel uncertain whether it is from someone at Microsoft, don’t take the risk. Reach out directly to us or one of the Microsoft technical support experts dedicated to helping you at the Microsoft Answer Desk.

Or simply give us a call and we’ll deal with it.

You can use Microsoft tools to report a suspected scam on the web or in email.

  • Internet Explorer.While you are on a suspicious site, click the gear icon and then point to Safety. Then click Report Unsafe Website and use the web page that is displayed to report the website.
  • com (formerly Hotmail).If you receive a suspicious email message that asks for personal information, click the check box next to the message in your Outlook inbox. Click the arrow next to Junk and then point to Phishing scam.
  • Microsoft Office Outlook 2010 and 2013.Right-click the suspicious message, point to Junk, and then click Report Junk.
  • You can also download the Microsoft Junk E-mail Reporting Add-in for Microsoft Office Outlook.
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