I am normally very careful when it comes to trying to avoid scam attempts from cybercriminals. However, even though I’m extremely vigilant, I almost fell for one the other day, if for no other reason than I was tired and not paying attention.
It wasn’t even anything sophisticated. I got an email saying that a package delivery didn’t arrive, and fortunate for them the fake timing they gave was also a window where I was not at home.
I order from Amazon and other online retailers all the time, so I do occasionally miss deliveries.
I was fortunate enough to regain my senses quickly after realizing that the link sent to me looked suspicious, and that upon double checking the sender’s email address, it was some weird address from Hotmail in Italy.
Needless to say, the link never got clicked and I was able to prevent myself from falling victim to what I would assume is a phishing attempt.
What the entire situation reminded me of, though, is that it’s possible for anyone to fall prey to these criminals’ tactics, even if we try our best to prevent it. Something as simple as being tired and not paying attention to what you’re reading in an email can cause a momentary lapse in judgement that ends up causing a lot of grief.
Fraudsters don’t take any time off, either. In fact, the current pandemic emboldened them further to prey on peoples’ fears to attempt to steal their information and their money.
We are all fighting a tough battle to keep our families safe, and that’s why I think it’s important to recognize that it’s not completely impossible to get fooled, even with the best intentions.
If you feel like you may have been the victim of a phishing or other cyberattack, don’t feel ashamed. It really can happen to anyone.
Instead of focusing on the fact that you were duped, think about taking a few actions to try to minimize damage:
- Call your bank and credit card provider and tell them right away that you may have had some information stolen, so they can monitor transactions and flag any unusual ones to you.
- If possible, request for new credit cards right away.
- Change all of your passwords for everyone account that you use, especially those that have credit card information saved like Amazon.
- Depending on where you live, lodge a report with the authorities so there’s a record of it, which may help you in future dealings with any institutions that could be given your false information, or with companies that may have accepted a fraudulent payment made in your name.
Remember, should this happen, blaming yourself isn’t the answer. These criminals intentionally target us with the end goal of stealing our identities and/or our money. They work diligently to find new ways to trick law-abiding citizens, and sometimes their attempts can work.
- Carlo Coloma, TeamRed member