Hook, line, sinker.
Have you received emails from a foreign prince asking for your immediate (and incredibly urgent) assistance? In it, they swear that if you help them acquire a large sum of money, they will reward you with a stake in it… Yes? Yep, that was a phishing scam. Unfortunately, not all of them seem this obvious, and they are getting more sophisticated by the day!
What is phishing?
Phishing is con work at its finest! Someone, who is incredibly unreliable, will sweet talk their way into making you believe they are reliable in order to steal from you. For most scams, this is done with an elaborate ruse wherein the scammer pretends to be a trustworthy business. These fake emails look almost entirely legitimate but often lead you to a spoofed website to gain access to your personal information.
Why anyone would partake in this scheme is a question on many minds, and the answer is simple: To swindle! These scams aim to gain access to private information, such as banking details, and use it maliciously to steal money or commit fraud.
Does something smell phishy?
Most individuals receive plenty of emails daily, creating a breeding ground for phishing in their email ponds. Here’s how to avoid the bait:
Don’t trust everything you see
Copying real-life business logos and mirroring their email addresses is easy for experienced scammers. Never trust an email simply because it looks legit! It is vital to investigate further to ensure it is not a phishing attack.
A trusted business will never ask you to urgently update personal information via an email link – especially not out of the blue. They will also not threaten your account and seek immediate action for the “dire situation” to be rectified. Stay away from these links, even if they look believable!
Double-check the grammar
Bad grammar and typos are a quick and easy way to identify phishing scams. While trustworthy companies have marketing departments to oversee their customer communications, these scammers do not and will likely have a few noticeable mistakes.
Be cautious of unexpected attachments
If you have randomly received a so-called urgent email attachment, do not open it. One of the most common phishing tactics includes spreading malware and viruses through attachments, which can wreak havoc on the safety of your personal information.
The email address of the sender is often an easy give-away of a phishing scam. An email address may appear legitimate, but hover over it for a full reveal and often therein lies the evidence. If you do not recognize the email address of the person communicating with you, it’s a red flag!
Getting away from the phishing trip altogether…
- Check the website URL before logging into your account (on any website).
- Always use a strong password and change it regularly.
- Immediately delete emails asking for personal information.
- avoid sharing personal or financial information over email.
- Review your bank account statements for unauthorised transactions.
- Do not open suspicious attachments.
- Setup two-factor authentication
Out of the pond!
Phishing scams are becoming more advanced by the day, making them harder to identify. But, by following these tips and remaining vigilant about suspicious emails or links, you can ensure that you stay out of the dangerous pond that the scammers are phishing in.
Cape Business Online specializes in digital marketing services that advance brands in the online space. For more information about our services, please reach out to our team here.