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5 Steps to Take After Clicking on a Phishing Link

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It’s common for anyone, especially seniors or their caregivers, to accidentally click on a phishing link. If this happens, it can be tough to figure out what to do next. Don’t worry, though! 

There are a few simple steps you can take to safeguard your valuable data. This includes: 

  • Disconnecting from the internet
  • Changing your passwords
  • Running a malware scan
  • Reporting the incident
  • Educating yourself and others on phishing scams

What Is Phishing?

Before delving into the 5 steps, let’s first understand what phishing actually is.

Phishing is a fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information, such as personal and financial details, by disguising as a trustworthy entity through electronic communication like email, text messages, or instant messaging. These attackers trick individuals into clicking on malicious links that lead them to fake websites designed to steal their credentials.

What to Do Immediately After Clicking on a Phishing Link

If you’ve already clicked on a phishing link, there are a few steps you can take to minimize the damage.

  1. Disconnect from the Internet

As soon as you realize that you’ve clicked on a phishing link, disconnect your device from the Internet. This will prevent any further communication between your device and the attacker’s server and limit their access to your data.

  1. Change Your Passwords

Next, change the passwords for all of your accounts that may have been compromised. If you used the same password for multiple accounts, change those as well. Make sure to use strong and unique passwords for each account to prevent future attacks.

  1. Run a Malware Scan

Run a full malware scan on your device using reputable antivirus software. This will help identify any malicious files or programs that may have been installed by the attacker through the phishing link.

  1. Report the Incident

It’s important to report the incident to the appropriate parties. If it was a work-related email, inform your IT department immediately. If it was a personal email, report it to the service provider or authorities.

  1. Educate Yourself & Others

After experiencing a phishing attack, take the opportunity to educate yourself and others about how to spot and avoid future attacks. This can include learning how to identify suspicious emails, checking the legitimacy of links before clicking on them, and using 2-factor authentication whenever possible.

Remember, prevention is always better than cure when it comes to phishing attacks. Be cautious and vigilant when clicking on links or providing personal information online. 

How to Check if Your Computer Has a Virus

If you’ve clicked on a phishing link, it’s important to take the right steps to protect your computer from potential viruses or malware. Here are 5 steps you can take to check if your computer is infected: 

First, run a virus scan. This will help you identify any malicious software that may have been installed on your computer. Make sure to use a reputable antivirus program to ensure the scan is thorough and accurate.

Second, check your browser settings. If you’ve clicked on a phishing link, it’s possible that your browser settings have been changed. Look for any unfamiliar extensions or plugins that may have been added without your knowledge. 

Third, look for any suspicious activity. If you notice any strange pop-ups or redirects, it could be a sign that your computer is infected. 

Fourth, check your system logs. If you’re tech-savvy, you can look through your system logs to see if any suspicious activity has been recorded. 

Finally, if you’re still unsure, contact a professional. A computer technician can help you identify any malicious software and provide advice on how to protect your computer in the future.

How to Protect Yourself from Phishing Scams

In addition to checking your computer for potential infections, there are also steps you can take to protect yourself from falling victim to a phishing scam in the first place. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Be cautious with emails and messages from unknown senders. If you receive an unexpected email or message asking for personal information or directing you to click on a link, proceed with caution.
  • Be wary of links and attachments in emails or messages. These can often be disguised as legitimate but may contain malicious software.
  • Keep your personal information secure. Don’t share sensitive information like passwords or credit card numbers through email or messages unless you are sure it is a legitimate source.
  • Use 2-factor authentication whenever possible. This adds an extra layer of security to your accounts and makes it more difficult for hackers to access your information.
  • Regularly update your software and antivirus programs. These updates often include security patches that can protect against the latest phishing scams.
An older man and woman smiling while sitting at a table, drinking coffee and looking at a laptop. Another couple sits next to them, holding a tablet and looking on.

Take Action to Protect Yourself from Phishing Scams

It’s important to take action to protect yourself from phishing scams. By understanding what phishing is and how to protect yourself from phishing scams, you can be better prepared to protect yourself from these malicious attacks. Taking the time to educate yourself and your loved ones on the dangers of phishing can help you stay safe online. At Bentley Commons, we prioritize the safety of our residents, from their physical to mental well-being to their online safety. Contact us today to learn more about our community.

Written by Kaplan

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