Never trust a link from someone you don’t know. If you click it, it may take you to a phony site that may look like your bank or credit card company, for example, but isn’t.
One thing a criminal can’t fake is the actual website address of a company or bank — but they can make it look very close to legitimate. For example, eBey.com or eBay.com.il can look very close to eBay.com. Instead of clicking a link in an email, protect yourself by verifying the link. Here’s how you can do that:
- Enter the company name in a search engine, such as Google or Ask.com.
- Click the link for the site in the search results to go there. Be sure that the site you're going to is the correct site, as some criminals create phony sites with similar-sounding names. If your browser or another program provides validation for sites, as with McAfee Site Advisor, check the rating for the site before going to it to be safer.
- Use links on the search results to find contact information for the company.
- Either call the customer support number provided, or submit a question via the site support to ask the company about the message you received.
- If you determine the site is legitimate and think you'll want to return to it, bookmark it. Before you leave the site, save it as a favorite in your browser so that one click brings you there any time. In Internet Explorer, click the Add to Favorites button and choose Add to Favorites from the drop-down menu.
- Enter a name for the site if you don’t like the one that's there and click Add.