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Six things to watch for to stay cyber safe
Be cyber safe

A lot of life happens online. Shopping. Banking. Socializing. Discovering time-intensive crafts to feel guilty for not doing with your kids because who has time to clean up a kitchen covered in Elmer’s glue and food coloring anyway?

Whether you’re conducting serious business or simply trying to post a decent shot of your family all smiling with their eyes open at the same time, it’s important to keep safety top of mind.

The bad guys are really good at their jobs, and work really hard to get you to take an action you shouldn’t take.

This includes clicking on a malicious link, sharing any passwords, opening infected attachments or even giving them access to your computer.

Most scams come by email, but hackers will also try calling you posing as a trusted company, or contact you through social media.

Here are some clues that you’re dealing with an attacker, according to SANS Security Awareness:

1. A tremendous sense of urgency: That demands “immediate action” before something bad happens Like threatening to close an account or send you to jail. The attacker wants to rush you into making a mistake.  This includes pressuring you to bypass or ignore your policies or procedures at work.

2. Too good too be true: A strong sense of curiosity or something that is too good to be true. (No, you did not win the lottery.)

3. "Dear Customer:" A generic salutation like “Dear Customer.” Most companies or friends contacting you know your name.

4. Personal information: Requesting highly sensitive information, such as your credit card number, password, or any other information that a legitimate sender should already know.

5. Official organization: The message says it comes from an official organization, but has poor grammar or spelling or uses a personal email address like

6. Tone or wording is off: You receive a message from someone you know, but the tone or wording just does not sound like him or her. If you are suspicious, call the sender to verify they sent it. It is easy for a cyber attacker to create a message that appears to be from a friend or coworker.


If you do suspect that an email, phone call or other message could be a scam, don’t click on any links or open attachments. If it’s a phone call, hang up – even if it seems rude. If it’s a bad guy, you don’t need to use good manners.

If they’re posing as a company you know call a known customer service line for that company so you know who you’re talking with. If you are suspicious about any Black Hills Energy messaging make sure to call us at 888-890-5554 or reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter. Banks or businesses would never call and ask for sensitive information like your passwords, bank account numbers or credit card.

To stay up to date on the latest security awareness news and tips, you can subscribe to the SANS monthly newsletter. They’re one of our trusted sources for reliable information to keep us safe at home and work.

Now back to finding more crafts we’ll likely never do. Don’t get us started on our thoughts about glitter.