Look Before You Tap or Click [howto] and [wod]:phishing

With more fake emails (also called phishing) warning your bank or Amazon account requires a verification coming into your mailbox, look at where the click or tap will take you BEFORE you tap or click.

On a laptop where you have a mouse or touchpad that can move the mouse, in many applications you can just slide the mouse over the link and you can see where the link will go before you actually click on it.   So if the link is for a site you don’t recognize (not your bank?), just delete it, or if you want to be a good citizen call or send it to your bank to alert others.

Not as easy on a mobile (iPhone, tablet, android, ..) since the mouse is typically not separate:   if you touch a link, usually to “just goes”.  How can you see where the link goes, until it’s too late?  On (almost) all iPhone/iPad and android/tablet mobile devices, you can use the feature that is already built in, called the “long press”.   Rather than just tapping on the link, take your finger, touch and HOLD your finger there for a couple of seconds.  A second window should pop up with the link URL; for example, https://cnn.com ) and you should see options to Cancel, Visit, or sometimes Copy.  Some browsers also allow “open in a new tab”.   What’s important is to see the destination of the link before you open the page.

QR Codes

Just as importantly, QR code readers should show you the destination of your scan and give you a similar group of choices.   QR, or “quick response” codes are fairly compact and are like barcodes; they store information such as website addresses, contact information, or sometimes just some text information.

For Android the basic ZXing scanner is great.  After the scan, your simple choices are 1) open browser, 2) share by email, and 3) share by SMS (text message).    Many other scanners use (also use the underlying) ZXing software, such as Norton Snap Scan (Norton checks the site for safety, at least that the certificate on the server was verified).  If your QR scanner does not allow a setting to let you see where you’re going before opening your browser, ask them to add the option if you like them.   For other options:


For IOS (Apple), I did verify that Norton Snap currently works on iPad and iPhone (even the older iPhone4), since ZXing does not seem to have something on the Apple AppStore.