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Dodging scam links in texts and emails

Safety steps to take if you accidentally click on a scam link
Link scam protection
Protecting your identity if you click a scam link
Posted at 11:45 AM, Nov 24, 2023

Have you ever clicked on a scam link without thinking and panicked? Whether it’s your work computer or your cell phone, there’s still a chance to fix things.

Robert Siciliano is a cybersecurity expert and the CEO of Protect Now LLC. He says there’s nothing to be ashamed of if you fall for the trap. “When you click a link and realize that you shouldn't have, it's not because you're a sucker,” says Siciliano. “There's nothing to be embarrassed about, it's because you trust by default and that's okay.”

If that happens to you, you might still be in the clear. “Clicking the link in a text message or in email in and of itself does not necessitate fraud,” Siciliano says. “It's what you do once you click that link that can get you into some trouble.”

If you gave a scammer your usernames or passwords, change both immediately and set up two-factor authentication for that device.

If clicking the link downloaded something to your computer, run an anti-virus software to check your device for malware.

Finally, if you shared your social security number, freeze your credit immediately. That will prevent anyone from opening accounts in your name.

Going forward, if something feels off to you, Siciliano says pay attention to your gut. “If you're unsure about it, right, call a friend, call a family member, have them take a look at it.”