In the midst of a busy workday, you receive a phone call from an outside number. The caller identifies themselves as a member of tech support calling about your computer. They may request your password, ask you to download a file, or request remote connection to your system. These calls may be phishing attempts and should be considered dangerous – but they can be tricky to identify and it’s important to be prepared to respond appropriately.

Here are 7 helpful tips to deal with phishing:

  • phishing phone scamTake a look at the caller ID. Is the number coming from inside or outside the company? If it is from outside the company and the caller is asking about company business (passwords, computers, equipment, etc.), you should become suspicious. Politely tell them that you are not comfortable with what they are asking, and hang up. Know that this checkpoint is not always 100% foolproof because sometimes a hacker can spoof a phone number.
  • Nobody should ever ask you for your password. If they do, it should make you suspicious and you should end the call.
  • Common sense is your best defense. If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. If you get a call from someone and you are not sure about their intentions, tell them you will call them back – but do not rely on the number they give you. For example, if they say they are from a vendor you work with on a regular basis, take the time to look up that vendor’s actual phone number and call that number back. Most times a hacker will give you a legitimate name, but they will give you a fake number to call back. If you call the number they give to you, you are not verifying that the caller is legitimate.
  • Do not let urgency scare you into doing something you shouldn’t do. Hackers love to make you think that if you don’t act immediately, something horrible will happen. If you tell them you will call them back and they fight you on that, it is probably a hacker.
  • It is always best to take a few minutes and think things through before acting.
  • If you really aren’t sure of something, reach out to someone that you trust.
  • Keep in mind that these tips are not only for work; they apply at home as well.

It is not uncommon to receive a phishing phone call now and then. The key is to know how to handle them the right way and move on.

Scams aren’t just for phones. Learn more about data security in these blogs:

-Paul Rosenquist