Law enforcement agencies are issuing an advisory concerning online crime.
Unfortunately, every year thousands of Oregonians fall victim to online criminals who disguise themselves as legitimate entities, according to Lincoln County Sheriff Curtis Landers.
Internet scams continue to evolve and can vary widely. The term generally refers to someone using internet services or software to defraud or take advantage of victims, typically for financial gain.
Cyber-criminals have become quite savvy in their attempts to lure people in and get you to click on a link or open an attachment. They may claim to be associated with a financial institution, an e-commerce site, a government agency or any other service or business. Links in email, tweets, posts and online advertising are often how cyber-criminals try to compromise your information. If it looks suspicious, “DO NOT CLICK!” says Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.
To protect yourself from this type of fraud, Landers encourages these important steps:
- When dealing with uninvited contacts from people or businesses, whether it's over the phone, by mail, email, in person or on a social networking site, always consider the possibility that the approach may be a scam.
- Always use password protection, don’t share access with others (including remotely), update security software and back up content. Protect your WiFi network with a password and avoid using public computers or WiFi hotspots to access online banking or provide personal information.
- Don’t click on links, open attachments, reply to the message, attempt to unsubscribe, or call any telephone number listed in suspicious messages. And don’t give out any money, credit card info, or other personal details.
The Oregon Department of Justice Consumer Protection Division is conducting a “Do Not Click” Campaign across the state and has issued the following recommendations:
Keep Your Software Current
Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system is the best defense against viruses, malware, and other online threats.
Type the URL yourself. Do Not Click!
Rather than clicking a link provided in an email, even one that looks to be from a friend or an acquaintance, type the known URL (website name) yourself.The “friend” may be a cyber-criminal and the website may be a fake! Anyone can create a phony website that can infect your computer or steal your information.
Pick Up The Phone
Never respond to emails that request personal or financial information. If you believe a company might actually need your personal or financial information, call the company yourself. Find the number independently. Do not use the phone number from the email!
When in Doubt, Throw it Out
Links in emails, social media posts, and online advertising are often how cyber-criminals try to steal your personal information. Even if you know the source, if something seems suspicious, do not respond and most importantly – delete!
Think Before You Act
Be wary of anything that asks you to act immediately, sounds too good to be true, or asks for personal information.
If you have information about or have fallen victim to a scam, contact the Oregon Attorney General's Consumer Hotline at 1-877-877-9392 or online at www.oregonconsumer.gov
For more information and tips, visit our website at: www.lincolncountysheriff.net or like us on Facebook at Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office – Oregon.
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