Phishing scams have been around for quite some time now. But not many people are aware of what it is and what it can do to them. It is simply a ploy used by fraudsters to lead you to divulge personal information by pretending to be legitimate online business companies. In fact, they trick you to believe they are popular companies, such as Facebook, in order to get your trust.
Beware! Once they have your information, they will then collect information or money from you through your computer or online bank accounts. Here are some tips on how to recognize phishing emails and also how you can protect yourself:
- Poor grammar and spelling. Often, fraudsters, unlike legit companies, are not (or do not employ) copy editors and post emails that are not well written. So, chances are, if you read an email with grammatical errors, it could be a scam dealer.
- Avoid clicking links in emails. Links included in dubious email messages could be traps. Simply move your cursor (without clicking) on the link and check if the address is the same as the one in the message.
Sometimes, the real web address (that pops up when you move the cursor) is not the same as the company’s supposed web address.
Links could also bring you to .exe files which could infect your PC with malicious software.
- Scammers often use threats. Fraudsters, and swindlers in general, are good at causing their victims to feel guilty or fearful. They will threaten to close your account or say that your security has been compromised in order to cause people to act according to their wishes. Such tactics are not used by professional companies. Get more information on how you can protect yourself from such ploys.
- Copying popular companies or sites. Cybercriminals employ logos, pop-up windows and other graphics that appear to link you to legitimate websites but in reality lead you to fake scam sites. One of the most-often spoofed companies is Microsoft. Protect yourself by getting more information on how scammers do it.
Here are some other tips to protect you from scammers:
- Only make use of dependable security software and set it to stay updated automatically. Moreover, learn standard security practices available on this link: computer security practices.
- Never give out your email personal or financial information. The email is not a protected means of sending out confidential information.
- Post personal or bank information only through a company’s website if you yourself typed in the web address and have checked that the site is secure. A URL that is secure will have this: https (the “s” means secure). This is not totally reliable though, as scam artist have also found a way around it.
- Inspect credit card and bank account statements right after you receive them to see if there are any unauthorized transactions. If your statement arrives a few days late, call to verify the billing address used and check out your account balances.
- Be careful when you click on attachments and downloading files from emails, regardless of who sent them. These files may contain viruses or other malware that can compromise your PC’s security.
The world has suddenly become not just convenient but also complicated. Yes, we can do banking and shopping online; but the burglars have also followed us on the virtual highway and found ways to steal our personal information and our money as well. We can protect ourselves from these criminals by knowing where they come from and how they operate.