Recently cybercriminals have begun to use legitimate programs in order to scam consumers and steal their information.
These scammers use emails or text messages to trick you into giving them your personal information. They may try to steal your passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. If they get that information, they could gain access to your email, bank, or other important accounts.
Thousands of phishing attacks are launched every day and they are often very successful. In fact, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center reported that people lost $57 million to phishing schemes in one year.
What is phishing?
Phishing is a type of online scam that targets consumers by sending them an e-mail that appears to be from a well-known source – an internet service provider, a bank, or a mortgage company, for example – and asking them to provide personal identifying information.
The scammer then uses that information to open new accounts, or invade existing accounts. There are several tips that consumers can follow to avoid phishing scams, such as not responding to e-mails or pop-up messages that ask for personal or financial information.
Scammers often update their tactics, but there are some signs that will help you recognize a phishing scam.
How to recognize and avoid phishing scams
This list of common features of phishing emails from phishing.org can help you identify and avoid phishing scams:
1.Too Good To Be True – Lucrative offers and eye-catching or attention-grabbing statements are designed to attract people’s attention immediately. For instance, many claim that you have won an iPhone, a lottery, or some other lavish prize. Just don’t click on any suspicious emails. Remember that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!
2.Sense of Urgency – A favorite tactic amongst cybercriminals is to ask you to act fast because the super deals are only for a limited time. Some of them will even tell you that you have only a few minutes to respond. When you come across these kinds of emails, it’s best to just ignore them. Sometimes, they will tell you that your account will be suspended unless you update your personal details immediately. Most reliable organizations give ample time before they terminate an account and they never ask patrons to update personal details over the Internet. When in doubt, visit the source directly rather than clicking a link in an email.
3.Hyperlinks – A link may not be all it appears to be. Hovering over a link shows you the actual URL where you will be directed upon clicking on it. It could be completely different or it could be a popular website with a misspelling, for instance www.bankofarnerica.com – the ‘m’ is actually an ‘r’ and an ‘n’, so look carefully.
4.Attachments – If you see an attachment in an email you weren’t expecting or that doesn’t make sense, don’t open it! They often contain payloads like ransomware or other viruses.
5.Unusual Sender – Whether it looks like it’s from someone you don’t know or someone you do know, if anything seems out of the ordinary, unexpected, out of character or just suspicious in general don’t click on it!