By Peggy Jo Goodfellow, Arizona Farm Bureau Marketing Manager: June is Safety month.  Due to an inceasing number of cyber hackers, everyone should be alert to the potential of a cyber attack. The number one protection tool against cyber hackers is the human factor. That’s right, you and I are the first best line of defense. 

A friend of mine, who works in IT received a call early one morning from her Mom, who lives in Ohio. Her Mom explained she had a pop-up window saying that Microsoft was informing her she had a bad virus and that she needed to call them immediately. The pop-up said not to close the window or she’d lose everything on her computer. She asked what she should do. “This is a scam Mom,” my friend said, “Shut off your PC now.”

This story sets a good example for all of us. We need to be vigilant—at home and at work. Check with your Farm Bureau Financial Services agent regarding protecting your privacy. If something seems fishy, don’t do it. 

Curiosity does kill the cat! Phishing emails are designed to elicit a response from a person who may be pressed for time or is not paying attention. This type of email is enticing and may tease your curiosity into wanting to check the link. These include emails about scanned documents, winning a prize, an “illegal” activity or impersonating someone.

The best defense against phishing emails is to check your emails carefully and think before you click.

Top 5 tips you need to know:

  1. Never share your username and password with anyone. Treat it like your bank information.
  2. Don’t click on email links or attachments when you are unsure of the sender or validated that the email is legitimate.
  3. Don’t forward suspicious emails or attachments to others. Have a verbal conversation or phone call if you need clarification.
  4. If an email looks suspicious delete the email from your Sent and Deleted items folders.
  5. Try using the following checklist to STOP and be vigilant every time you receive a suspicious email.

S        Stop. Don’t click on any links or attachments until you’ve reviewed the email.

T        Take time to review.  Read through the email. Does it make sense?  Should you be getting this email? Don’t fall victim to curiosity.

O    Outsmart phishers, don’t bite!  If an email looks fishy, assume it’s phishing and use the Report Phishing icon in Outlook.

P     Protect you and your family by reporting, removing and delecting spam and suspicious emails.

Editor’s note: For more information on our member benefits including our regional benefits go to Arizona Farm Bureau’s member benefits page online. Or, download the Member Benefits app to your smart phone for easy, everyday access to your benefits.

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