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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

How to be phish-proof

A recent cybersecurity “phishing” incident may have exposed the personal information of current and former Federal employees. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has been sending email notifications to those potentially impacted. Email notices will be sent from about services being provided at no cost to individuals impacted by the incident, including credit report access, credit monitoring, identity theft insurance and recovery services. Additional information is available at

Phishing is the attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Here are four steps to protect yourself:
  1. Check the grammar. A lot of phishing emails are written to try to sound professional and official, but make sloppy grammatical mistakes.
  2. Check the sender. Modern phishing emails are often from someone you know (because that person responded to a phishing email with their ID and password). But would you expect the person to email you about the subject of the email?
  3. Don’t be fooled by the official look. Scammers can cut and paste copyright statements, logos, etc.
  4. Hover over the link. The phishing email may provide a link to reset your password, etc. If you hover your mouse (don't click!) over any link in your email, you should see (usually at the bottom of the window) where the link is going to take you.
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