Doesn’t technology make everything easier! We rely on it so much that it has become essential to our lifestyles and activities. Everything has a price. Technology has facilitated us in so many ways but it has its downsides too. Hacking, phishing, stealing personal info and confidential data are on a rise. Cybercriminals are coming up with innovative and creative ways for their cybercrimes.
When it comes to cybercrimes, phishing scams are the most common type. Intruders are stealing sensitive and confidential info/data from businesses, consumers, and government offices through well-orchestrated phishing scams. That’s exactly why every individual, office, and company is ensuring internet security protection. They are also willing to learn the best practices to avoid these scams.
First things first. Remember, awareness is your key defense against phishing. You need to know what phishing is in order to spot it and avoid it. According to a rough estimate, in the year 2017, people reported more than $30 million to various phishing scams. You need to stay vigilant against any phishing attempts.
So, what exactly is phishing? Phishing refers to the practice of sending fake emails, texts, and even phone calls and trick people into sharing their personal and confidential info. This info could be bank account numbers, login IDs as well as passwords, social security numbers, and so on.
Once the scammers get hold of your personal info, they can easily steal your money, identity, and personal accounts. They can even contact others in your network and contact list to get hold of more information.
Instances of Phishing
You need to equip yourself with the knowledge of the popular phishing methods. The following are the most common types of phishing.
Emails are the most common method used for phishing scams. These emails attempt to have your personal info. They do in one of the two ways. Either they require you to give away your personal info. Or, they make you click a fake link. With easy access to unlimited high-speed internet these days, they can easily attach malware-carrying attachments. Do not open them.
You can recognize a phishing email. Some identifiable things are:
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- They are sent from unknown and suspicious senders.
- The email has multiple recipients.
- They don’t address you directly.
- It may include unnecessary attachments or links.
Avoiding Email Phishing Scams
Investigate the Senders
Phishers tend to hide their identities. They would send emails using generic names such as “customer support” to try to create a sense of credibility. Make sure you view all the details of the email to figure out the actual sender’s email address.
Hover the Mouse on any Clickable Thing
The best practice is never to click any links from unknown senders. But if you have to, first hover the mouse over the link and examine what’s the web address. You will figure out if it looks suspicious. Avoid clicking it because you don’t want to end up installing malware or landing on a fraudulent site.
Do NOT Open Any Attachments or Images
Make it a regular practice not to open any attachments or images found in the emails by unknown senders. Even if they look harmless!
Create Filters for Email Spams
The best way to avoid phishing emails? Never receiving them in the first place! Creating email filters to block spams, unwanted attachments, and images.
If you believe that you have been targeted for a phishing attempt, you can report it. Find out an official complaint email address provided by the cybercrime investigation department of your country. They will help you.
Avoiding Social Media Phishing
Social media and dating sites are becoming easy targets for phishers. By posing as a romantic interest or a friend, it is easy to make others give away their important info. Many people have been victimized like that. Even in offices with nest WiFi system, there is no screening method on social media to avoid social media phishing.
Here’s how you should avoid it.
- Limit your posts.
- Make your privacy setting low-key.
- Don’t post any personal IDs or confidential personal info.
- Don’t add unknown and suspicious people.
- Always verify who you are talking to.
- Avoid using fake social media sites.
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Avoiding Text Message Phishing
Also called “smishing”, phishing via text messages is also a common practice. Often, they would pose as company reps and agents from customer care departments. They also try to target you by offering discounts on products and services.
Here’s what you can do:
- Search the number from which you got the texts.
- See for any warning signs in the SMS.
- Block the texts coming from the internet.
- Reach out to the businesses directly and enquire about the misleading number.
Avoiding Phone Call Phishing
- Use voicemail and caller ID.
- Call back from a different number to figure out if they change their introduction.
- If you are sure that it is a phishing call, just hang up.
The most common method is calling as a customer service rep. For instance; they can act like they are calling from Cox to fix your internet. But you can easily identify the Cox customer service number.
How to stop phishing emails in Gmail?
Use scam filters to avoid receiving any phishing emails in the first place.
What is an online dating scammer?
Online dating scammers target people who give a large amount of info in their profiles. They target scam to steal money, personal info, credit card credentials, and so on.
How can scams be avoided?
Avoid phishing emails, insecure sites, and suspicious profiles on social media. Also, hang up suspicious calls and verify numbers sending suspicious SMS.
How do you know if someone is scamming you?
Figure out if it’s a fake account, number, SMS sender, or email. You can easily figure out the suspicious nature of phishing scams.
How do I report a suspicious email?
There is an official email address that the cybercrime department of every country has. You can report it there. You can also report to your Email service.