Your Online Security
October 31st, 2022
We’re all online these days, to one degree or another. Bad actors know going after your online information is very tempting. Sometimes it’s easy to spot, like the Nigerian prince who’s still trying to get his millions out of country after all these years.
Unfortunately, many are more insidious and these people target your Personally Identifiable Information (PII) including debit and credit card numbers, Social Security number, and financial accounts. Criminals may also try to get you to click on embedded links or open attached files to try and infect your computer or install malware that steals this information.
Extra Attic is very respectful of your online privacy and security so we wanted to post this article to help you identify and evaluate online communications you receive.
The general term for these fraudulent emails is “phishing”. Here are some steps you can take any time you receive an email you’re not expecting, even if it looks like it’s from a source you know:
- Check the “From” email address. Is it the same as you expect, or is it just similar? Sometimes bad actors will use an address that looks somewhat familiar, but is not legitimate. Our email addresses will always end in “@ExtraAttic.com” and begin with our facility’s location.
- If the message includes a hyperlink or button to take you to a website, you can “hover” over it (place your mouse icon over the link, but do not click) to inspect it. If the web address does not match the company purportedly sending the email, do not click through as it may take you to a copycat website. Any legitimate links from Extra Attic will have either “ExtraAttic.com” or “shortlink.sitelink.com” as part of the address.
- Check any attachments and verify their authenticity before opening them. Be suspicious of any unexpected document or a document with a generic name. At Extra Attic, all our documents will have our name (“ExtraAtticSelfStorage…”) as part of the document name, along with a date stamp that will look like this: “_YYYYMMMDD”. All legitimate attachments that Extra Attic sends out begin with “ExtraAtticSelfStorage” and then will most likely be one of these:
- Monthly rental invoice (expect around the 20th of the month)
- Payment receipt
- Rental lease documents (one time, when you begin your rental with us)
- Be cautious and contact us if you receive anything else if you suspect it’s fraudulent
- Be suspicious of any email that tries to create a sense of urgency, like “You must respond within 24 hours”. Any legitimate company will not do this unless absolutely necessary.
- If an email has multiple spelling or grammar mistakes it is likely a phishing attempt.
Fraudsters don’t limit their attempts to steal your information to emails, they’ll also do so via the phone. It can sometimes be difficult to identify these attempts. If you’re at all suspicious, ask the caller for a phone number to call them back, and independently validate the number before you call back. Google can be very helpful here, and can sometimes direct you to services that compile lists of fraudulent phone numbers.
Extra Attic may sometimes need to contact you by phone, most often if you have auto-bill and your credit card has expired. You can verify this by checking your card’s status and ask to call back if you’re not comfortable taking an incoming call. We won’t be offended!
Lastly, if you do encounter a fraudulent email or phone, please contact the company that’s being impersonated. They will appreciate being notified about the problem and can take the necessary steps to resolve it.