How to Avoid Phishing Scams with Windows 10 - dummies

How to Avoid Phishing Scams with Windows 10

By Andy Rathbone

If you’re working on any PC, whether it has Windows 10 installed or not, eventually you’ll receive an e-mail from your bank, eBay, PayPal, or a similar website announcing a problem with your account. Invariably, the e-mail offers a handy link to click, saying that you must enter your username and password to set things in order.

Dont do it, no matter how realistic the e-mail and website may appear. You’re seeing an ugly industry called phishing: Fraudsters send millions of these messages worldwide, hoping to convince a few frightened souls into typing their precious account name and password.

How do you tell the real e-mails from the fake ones? It’s easy, actually, because all these e-mails are fake. Finance-related sites may send you legitimate history statements, receipts, or confirmation notices, but they will never, ever e-mail you a link for you to click and enter your password.

If you’re suspicious, visit the company’s real website by typing the web address by hand into your web browser’s Address bar. Chances are good that the real site won’t list anything as being wrong with your account.

Both Internet Explorer and the new Microsoft Edge browser in Windows 10 use Microsoft’s SmartScreen Filter technology that compares a website’s address with a list of known phishing sites. If it finds a match, the SmartScreen filter keeps you from entering, as shown here. Should you ever spot that screen, close the web page by clicking the words Close This Tab listed on the Warming.

Microsoft Edge warns you when you visit a suspected phishing site.
Microsoft Edge warns you when you visit a suspected phishing site.

So, why can’t the authorities simply arrest those people responsible? Because Internet thieves are notoriously difficult to track down and prosecute. The reach of the Internet lets them work from any place in the world, hidden beneath a mass of networks.

  • If you’ve already entered your name and password into a phishing site, take action immediately: Visit the real website and change your password. Then contact the company involved and ask it for help. It may be able to stop the thieves before they wrap their electronic fingers around your account.

  • If you’ve entered credit card information, call the card’s issuer immediately. You can almost always find a toll-free, 24-hour phone number on the back of your credit card.