Email is a great way to communicate with people either about work or personal. We all receive and send emails every day. Sometimes, we also receive some advertisement and sales. Oh! The deal on this email sounds really good and I only need to sign up for an account with my credit card information…
If the offer sounds too good to be true, it is likely a scam. Sometimes, the senders even claim that you might be in some sort of trouble and you need to resolve as soon as possible, else you would be fined.
How do you evaluate these suspicious-looking emails and protect yourself from malware or being scammed?
What is Phishing?
Phishing scams are an extremely unethical way that cybercriminals mislead you with the intention of stealing your money. They do this by tricking you into voluntarily paying money or downloading malware that allows them to access private personal information such as passwords, credit card numbers, or other sensitive personal information.
Phishing scams often appear in the form of E-mails, direct messages on social media, or even phone calls. Typically, these scams are ones in which a cybercriminal will pose as a reputable company or a government agency and then deceive you into taking action so that you give up your personal information.
Characteristics of phishing scams
First, they usually appear to be from reputable companies or sometimes as a reputable person such as a friend whose account has been hacked. They usually include threats or incentives which require you to take action immediately. For example, your account is overdue, or you’ve won 500 dollars. Also, they often include links which they are begging you to click on. Many times but not always, they contain spelling and grammatical errors. This is a major giveaway, as most reputable companies would not send out a message with spelling and grammatical errors.
How do you avoid Phishing?
Here are some tips you can use to identify and avoid phishing.
Pay extra attention when receiving messages from unfamiliar senders.
The format or the style of the message is poorly structured.
Sender’s information is vague or suspicious.
Urgency described in the message that requires immediate actions.
Use the mouse cursor to hover over the suspicious links to see the full link.
Check the related service for confirmation. For example, if an email claims that your bank is closing and asking to click the link in the email to log in and withdraw all your money immediately. You should contact the bank’s customer service or visit the bank’s website for details.
Mark the phishing messages as spam or report them to appropriate parties.
Did I get PHISHED? What should I do now?
Do not panic.
Contact your local IT team if you are in a work environment.
If your sensitive information is leaked, contact the service provider and suspend your account. For example, if your bank account information gets stolen, you should contact the bank, cancel, suspend, or even change your password in order to stop any further losses.
Scan the affected devices for malware.
Be aware of any abnormal behaviors on your accounts or devices.
Report to your local cyber law enforcement for any scams and frauds.
Want to know how you can mitigate your companies risk to phishing attacks? Contact TurboIT Solutions today to learn how we can help!