Running a trusted virus software protection program and investing in professional IT services drastically increases your computer’s safety. But nothing is foolproof, so make sure you’re implementing these 3 protection methods as well.

1. Beware of suspicious emails

Have you ever received an email from an email address you recognize relating to something that sounds legit but sounded ever so slightly off or random? Hackers are getting better and better at tricking people. Always take a good look at the email address associated with an email asking you to send money, click a link, or take action. Is it exactly the same as your contact’s?  Make sure the hacker didn’t substitute any zeros in place of the letter O or change the wording ever so slightly, i.e. thesmithfamily vs. smithfamily. Call your contact and ask them if they sent you the email. They’ll be able to confirm or deny so you can be sure. And when in doubt, if anything is different, do not click on a link, open an attachment, or reply. Simply report the email as spam to your email host and delete it.

2. Exercise caution with private messages

One of the most recent threats is hackers creating fake accounts on social media that look almost identical to your friends’ accounts. They change the profile name ever so slightly but use the same photo as a real friend of yours. Then they friend you, message you, etc. So be cautious when accepting friend requests. Double check if you’re already friends with that person. Even better, make your settings so that you are in charge of initiating friend requests. If someone contacts you via messenger or private direct message, play close attention to what is being said and use common sense. For example, if someone is asking you for money that has a very profitable job, that should be a red flag. Or if the message is talking about trips they are thinking of taking that they need money for but the person in real life is in the hospital, clearly the person contacting you is a hacker/spammer, perhaps even a bot!

3. Take action if you think you’re vulnerable

If anything starts looking off in your account or you’re receiving suspicious messages, it’s smart to go ahead and change your password. This is one of the most overlooked precautions, but it’s effective. Sometimes websites will randomly re-route to a virus or pop-ups will tell you that you’ve won something. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! And clicking links only puts your computer at risk. If this is happening regularly to you, it’s time to have your device scanned professionally for viruses. The sooner you strengthen your defenses, the safer your computer will be.

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