February Tips

Internet Safety in the Workplace

If you work in customer service, say a nice young man approaches you about your services and needs assistance. After helping him, he thanks you for your time and help. He asks one last thing: “Could you go to a website for me and see what their business hours are please? I need to stop there next and I am not sure if they are open.” You’ve never heard of the company or website the man is indicating, so what would you do?

Ask yourself a different question: “Is the risk the same as clicking on a link in an email from a company computer?” In this case, the answer is, “Yes.” The request may be innocent — or the man may have other intentions. If you type in the website URL directly that he provides it is truly no different than clicking on a link within an email.

So how can you provide good customer service without putting your business at risk? Even if you don’t work in customer service, it’s never a good idea to click on a link or visit a site you are unfamiliar with directly. Instead, you should utilize your favorite search engine (Google.com, Bing.com, DuckDuckGo.com, etc.) to find any business information, including business hours. Go to Google Maps and look up the company name in the search field, and if it exists there is a good chance there will be information about the business, including business hours. In short, do searches for the information but do NOT go to the website a third party provides without knowing what you’re going to click on.

You can be helpful, but no matter how innocent the person appears you should not visit the website address they provide directly. Otherwise, you may find you have “clicked on” a human phishing email.