Phishing attacks are one of the most common malware attacks. Cyber attackers are becoming more sophisticated with their phishing methods by making emails look more like they came from the sender instead of a hacker. To protect yourself from identity theft or a data breach, here are 5 pieces of information you should NEVER send via email.
1. Your Social Security number. This is the number one piece of information you should protect more than anything, because your Social Security number is connected to so many things. Once a criminal has this information, they can secure just about anything including credit cards, car and home loans, and even medical records. If anyone is asking for this information via email, you should contact them via phone and let them know you received an email so they can investigate.
2. Your banking information. Financial institutions have your banking and personal information on file, so they should never ask you to enter your account number, Social Security number, or other sensitive information to verify your account. When a breach occurs on their end, you’ll more than likely receive a new debit or credit card in the mail informing you that your card number may have been compromised. Any password resets initiated should only require you to enter your email address and/or answer your security questions you selected when you set up your online profile.
3. Your credit or debit card number. When a cyber attacker gets their hands on your credit or debit card number, they can rack up fraudulent charges quickly. You may not even know you’re a victim of fraud until you try to use your card and it’s declined for no apparent reason or until you receive a phone call from your bank or credit card company. If a vendor is looking for payment via credit or debit card, do not send your card number to them via email; call them and provide the information via phone.
4. Login credentials and passwords. Password resets are common after someone has attempted to access your account unsuccessfully. However, a password reset email will not ask you to provide your username or password directly. It will send you to a link for you to receive a temporary password or ask you to verify you are the correct person by answering the security questions you selected when you set up the account. When you send your login credentials or passwords to someone via email, you’re risking the information being misused in some way.
5. Financial documents. Most financial institutions require hard copies of signed documentation. If you have to send something electronically, use a secure file sharing site and password protect the file. Once the file has been retrieved, remove the file so it can’t be compromised.
Financial institutions and healthcare providers should never ask you for any of this information in an email. If you receive an email from your bank, doctor’s office, or any other business asking for this type of information, it’s more than likely a phishing attempt for your personal information. You should notify the organization right away that you’ve received an email asking for personal information and inform the authorities if necessary. Taking immediate action can help prevent someone else from becoming a victim of identity theft or a data breach. For more information about how to secure and protect your personal information, contact us today.