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  • Jun 22, 2023

Tech Talk with Jeff - Advertisement Pictures, Beware

One of the things I have noticed in writing these articles on cybersecurity and protecting yourself from scams is there’s a never-ending supply of topics to write about. The level of effort put into scamming people and how much money is lost to these scams is amazing. Your best protection is education and being aware.

We are taught that when clicking on a link in an email that we should hover over it to see what the actual text of the link is. This is a valid method for seeing if the text matches what the link says you are clicking on. If it doesn’t make sense, then definitely do not click the link.

We’ve become used to seeing advertisements that have pictures you can click on that take you to the website containing that item. So easy and convenient, yet so dangerous. The problem is it isn’t always obvious at first glance what the link hidden in the picture goes to. This means there is less chance for you to notice that it is a dangerous link. Wonderful stuff to scammers, not so much for the rest of us.

Scammers can use this feature to put tempting pictures in front of us that we want to click on. Like an offer for money, a concert, or whatever is tempting to you. The idea here is to make it harder to figure out that it is a scam. They want to tempt you into not thinking about the possibility that it is not what it appears to be. 

If you hover your cursor over the picture in the advertisement, you should see somewhere; probably in the lower left corner, the link text that belongs to the picture. Use this to evaluate whether you really want to click on that picture or not, the same way you are careful with regular links.

If you really don’t want to get caught by a scam/bad link, don’t click. It doesn’t hurt to just not use the links or pictures provided in emails. You can’t get in trouble if you don’t click on them. Are you still interested in what it is? Try doing a search for the product being sold on a valid website. You want to use methods that take you away from what was sent to you since it could be a scam. If it is, anything in that email can and will take you right to the scammer.

Always go to a known, valid source for information such as the merchant’s website that you searched for or typed in yourself or the back of your credit card. You can’t be too careful on the Internet. It is a wonderful tool but can be a very dangerous place.

Be aware and be safe!

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