Table of Contents (Find Your Tip!)
- What is a Phishing Attack?
- Top 5 Phishing Scam Messages
- 1. Email Message
- 2. Domain Spoofing
- 3. Smishing
- 4. Vishin
- 5. Evil Twin
- Protection From Phishing Scams
- Be Careful With Emails and Links
- Utilize Device Security Software
- Avoid Sketchy Pop-Up Messages
- Restrict Your Activities Using Public Wi-Fi
- What To Do If You Have Been Scammed
- Change Your Login Information
- Run A Device Security Check
- Contact Your Account’s Support Team
Scammers are becoming smarter and are causing many companies and individuals thousands of dollars. These scammers are becoming better at disguising themselves as people are exposed through emails, text messages, and even phone calls. On tactic these criminals are using today to scam innocent people is phishing.
What is a Phishing Attack?
A phishing attack is a cyber-crime done by scammers that attempts to get the user to perform a specific action. These attacks are performed on a massive scale and try to target any unexpecting individuals who may fall for the scheme.
These attacks have evolved over the years, where they were commonly only used through email. Now we have discovered that the latest scams can get users involved through many other outlets, such as text messages and phone calls. All in an effort to get your personal or financial account information. Typically, these scammers will disguise themselves as someone you may know, in order to trick you into giving up your sensitive information.
With the popularity of social media in recent years, it has become even easier for these cybercriminals to know more personal information about the target. For example, they may target the elderly stating that they are reaching out regarding a relative or close friend.
The cybercrime industry is rising at an extreme rate, and protecting ourselves from these attacks is becoming harder to do.
Top 5 Phishing Scam Messages
1. Email Message
In these emails, scammers are looking to gain some sort of personal information from you. They disguise themselves as a company or person you may know, such as your CEO. They may even ask you for information such as your phone number, social security number, username and password, or sensitive company data.
By giving away this information, they are looking to access your accounts with the overall goal to get you to transfer funds to one of their fake accounts.
2. Domain Spoofing
With these types of attacks, the scammers will create a website or email that looks like a site or service you are currently using. Through responding to these emails or by simply clicking on a link, you can be exposed to this phishing attempt.
You want to watch for things such as incorrect URL characteristics or an email address that does not match the domain address. Such as an email message from an unrecognizable address stating that you have experienced identity theft. That looks like it could be from the official site, but is disguised as a phishing email.
This is a term that is referred to as SMS phishing. Many companies have begun to start using text messages to inform their customers about promotions or deals. Cybercriminals use text messages similar to those to lure users into viewing the link, and then gaining access to your personal information.
To avoid falling for smishing messages, you must be aware of what text notifications you are signing up for. If you notice that you are receiving texts from an unknown sender, this could be a sign that you’re being scammed.
Similar to smishing, but now the cybercriminals call your phone to get you to provide personal or financial information. Most of the time, these scammers use automated messages or even use mobile apps to disguise their phone number and even their voice. It is common for these types of attacks to target family members or close friends.
5. Evil Twin
This is different than any other form of phishing discussed. This phishing tactic capitalizes on Wi-Fi connection. Usually, this scam is disguised as a typical Wi-Fi access point that once connected to, can gather personal or corporate information. This is sometimes referred to as the “Starbucks scam” because this affects many users trying to connect to Wi-Fi in public locations such as coffee shops.
Protection From Phishing Scams
Be Careful With Emails and Links
Knowing how to recognize these attacks is the first step in protecting your system and information. Make sure that when opening emails and links they are coming from legitimate sites and companies. I would even suggest to copy links from emails and inserting them directly into a web browser as a question on Google or Bing. By doing this, you can check to see if the website matches up with the domain site.
Utilize Device Security Software
Security software is excellent for preventing these types of attacks by handling any threat you are exposed to. Not only will it notify you about the risk that is affecting your system, but give you the option to delete or remove any dangerous files. This software will help detect phishing emails however, they may not keep all emails out. It will reduce the amount of phishing messages you are exposed to.
Avoid Sketchy Pop-Up Messages
Be aware of any pop-up messages that you are receiving. Most legitimate websites will never ask for personal information through a pop-up message. Make sure to NEVER enter personal or account information onto a form, website, or message that you do not recognize.
Restrict Your Activities Using Public Wi-Fi
When connecting to public Wi-Fi, do not use any banking apps or any other apps that may contain sensitive information. You may think that you are connecting to a secure Wi-Fi connection, when it may be an evil twin. If you need to access account or credit card numbers, use your device’s 4G or LTE.
What To Do If You Have Been Scammed
If you believe that you are the victim of a phishing scam, it’s essential to take action right away to keep your information safe. There are many ways to approach keeping your account information safe once it has been exposed to one of these scams.
Change Your Login Information
The first thing you should do is change your password or your account login information. Doing this will cause any device that has access to the account to enter the new password and be locked out.
Run A Device Security Check
To ensure there aren’t any viruses or tracking software on your device, run a security scan. There are many security features that protect you against these types of phishing scams prior to and after being affected. If any threats are found, they will be stopped and quarantined.
Contact Your Account’s Support Team
Whichever account you believe has been exposed, contact your their company support team and report the suspicious activity. By doing this, it will help them monitor any suspicious activity within the account that you may not be aware of.
If you think you have been affected by phishing, don’t wait to take action. Take the necessary steps immediately to stop the scammers and alleviate the situation.
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