Fight Back Against Phishing Scams
What is Phishing?
Phishing is a form of fraud where cybercriminals/hackers pose as a legitimate source (e.g. financial institution, retailer, etc.) to steal your personal information. They try to disguise themselves as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication, both emails and text messages.
How Phishing Impacts You
Cybercriminals may use phishing scams to steal your username and/or password and other personal information to gain access to personal information or accounts to steal money, financial data, or other sensitive information, such as identity theft, or extortion, among other acts.
What can you do to protect yourself? Here are some practical tips to stay protected against phishing attacks. Use these tips on your personal devices, and at home.
1. Be alert when it comes to phishing attacks
Never click on links, download files, or open attachments in emails (or on social media), even if it appears to be from a known, trusted source. Always be wary of emails asking for confidential information - expecially if it asks for personal details or banking information. Legitimate organizations will never request sensitive information via email.
2. Does that email look suspicious?
Plenty of phishing emails are fairly obvious. They will be punctuated with plenty of typos, words in capitals and exclamation marks. They may also have an impersonal greeting - think of those 'Dear Customer' or 'Dear Sir/Madam' salutations - or feature implausible and generally surprising content. Cybercriminals will often make mistakes in these emails intentionally to improve responses and weed out the 'smart' recipients who won't fall for the con.
3. Be watchful of threats and urgent deadlines
Most phishing attacks succeed because we are always in a hurry. Online surfing is serious business and things should not be done in haste. Usually, scamming emails contain threats and urgency, especially if coming from what claims to be a legitimate company. Some of these threats may include notices about a fine or advising you to do something to stop your account rom being closed. Ignore the scare tactics and contact the company directly via their website or phone. Do not get pressured into providing sensitive information.