In today’s world of increasing cybercrime and the risk of password or data theft, ask yourself these 5 questions before you click on that link:
Do you know and trust the person sending or sharing this link? If it’s sent by a friend or family member, chances are it’s OK. If for any reason you are unsure, call and verify that they sent the mail. If you don’t recognise the name, the email address or the content, then its best to avoid it. Be wary of emails that mention your name in the subject line or which claim to come from a bank.
Do you know the platform? This revolves around common sense. If you are on for e.g. a private Whats App group or if a link has been shared on your company’s Intranet, then there is no need to worry. Be wary of emails in your Spam folder or anonymous social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter. Rather avoid them.
Do you trust the destination? Look at the link that has been shared. Does it direct you to go to a website that you recognise? If you don’t know or trust the destination do not click on the link. Instead you can do your own websearch and visit the website via that route.
Does this link coincide with a major world event? Cybercriminals will seize any opportunity to get someone to click on a bad link. So if you see a link for e.g. “the Nepal earthquake”, treat it with suspicion and apply the 3 abovementioned questions.
Has the link been shortened? Check the link address carefully for any shortened or altered words. For example, a cybercriminal might type the address as goo.gl, in the hope that the recipient reads it as google, and treats it as a legitimate address.
Always be wary!