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Prevent being eMail hacked

5 Steps to deal with what could be FAKE EMAILS from possible Hackers.

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Every day we get more fake emails pretending to be potential clients and trying to get us to either click on a link or write back to them so that they can try to break into our protected information.  

As Real Estate Professionals, we count on referrals and new prospects generated by our social media presence to bring us new business. Our law office is no different than a Real Estate Brokerage or a Mortgage Brokerage in this respect. We put our information out there and as a result, we get the good and the bad.

To avoid deleting an email from a possible new client you don't know, and missing a lead or appearing to your social media friends like you don't respond to your emails or texts, we have developed a few common sense tests to apply, before opening and engaging with these emails. 

1. Copy and paste the email of the sender into a google search. If this email is being used for a scam, chances are good that it was sent to many people at the same time. I have often found complaints or warnings about the questionable email on the first page of my search. Delete it and forget it, as many times as it is sent. Hackers send out thousand of these emails and then just go after the ones that reply. The others they sent it to may just be remote, unattended email address, why should they bother? But they are persistent so you need to be too.

2. If the email is too good to be true, it probably is! I thought twice about putting this suggestion in, but we all like to believe what we want to believe and that temptation is what hackers count on.

3. Avoid automatically opening emails from trusted people. Look carefully at the email address that is sending you a message. Once you have been hacked a hacker can use your exact address to send messages to other people in your contacts, using your email and pretending to be you. BUT, sometimes hackers can only see the names of your contact by accessing your online activity and they don't have access to the exact address of the people that you deal with. Instead, they will create a fake account, using your trusted friend's name, which looks like their email address but if you look carefully it is slightly different. These emails often have a link that says you have to click it right away to see something incredible. DON'T. Just delete and forget them.

4. The IRS, Banks, Credit Cards and other possibly trusted companies will not send emails to you directly. They usually write or send you a message to go to their web page and log on. Do not click or open anything from any company unless you have been in constant contact with them recently and even then do so with careful caution. We just skip the links in the emails we have just received and go directly to log on to the trust web pages of these types of "Trusted" companies or organizations that might have sent us something (or not).

5. Do not try to teach these hackers a lesson. This is what they do all day and they know more that you do about it. Chances are that replying or arguing with them will give them the access that they want rather than keep them from bothering you further.

Finally, what to do when you feel that you are being targeted. The best thing to do is report it. Your Underwriters, your bank, your credit card companies or any other organization that might be a watch dog for your industry are all interested in hearing about these attempts and will publish your report. It does not take a long time and it will help the rest of the community you are part of quickly realize that they have been approached by the same hacking group. This will make the Hacker's less successful and hopefully make them think they are wasting their time with you and other like you.

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