Don’t get caught in a phishing scam! Be aware of the most common ways that a phishing scam might occur and educate yourself and your employees. Phishing is a way to maliciously gain access to personal and sensitive information by sending emails, texts or phone calls to create a trustworthy relationship where information is obtained. Educating both yourself and your employees is one of the best ways to be proactive to prevent being caught in a phishing scam.
Three Ways You Could Be Contacted In A Phishing Scam Include:
- Phone call and voice mail
How To Prevent Getting Caught In A Phishing Scam
Do not provide personal information.
Typically, most companies will not ask you for any information that is personal and protected over email or a text. If they do ask you for this, be aware that this is a common way to get caught in a phishing scam. If you ever think that you have gotten an email from your financial institution for example and they are asking you for personal information over a voicemail, email or text, do not provide it. Be sure to instead contact a trusted adviser at the financial institution itself or contact the customer service number. Find the customer service number for the institution or company on a validated website. You can never be too cautious in verifying who you are providing your personal information to.
Do you know who the email is from?
Many people get caught in a phishing scam this way. Don’t just assume it is someone you know, be sure to look at where the email or text message may be coming from and verify it is actually them. This can be tricky because friends and family members accounts can be hacked too. Vigilance and caution are key. If you think a family member or friend hasn’t sent you what you received, be sure to contact them first before opening it or any attachments! This will save you identity theft and financial loss, but will also help your friend or family member!
Do not trust emails with incentives built into the title!
Many people get caught in a phishing scam this way. Hackers will use incentives to get you to open an email or click on an attachment!
Do not open attachments that you are unsure of.
Make sure that prior to opening an attachment you know who the email is from. One click on an attachment that has malicious content, like ransomware, is enough to make you a victim of identity theft and financial loss. If you were not expecting an attachment or hyperlink from someone, do not open it. Verify the attachment first with the sender!
Fake Address Bars.
This is a new one to look out for! Essentially what happens is, a fake bar displays with a real websites address which makes you think you are on a website you are not. Then the page you end up being on as a result could potentially allow malicious pages to get information from you that is personal or sensitive. You may have read about it the news recently. If not, you can read about them here.
Other Clues Of A Phishing Scam
There are other subtle signs to watch for that might indicate you have received an email, text or phone call that is a phishing scam. These include:
- feeling unsure something isn’t right with an email, text or phone call that you have received
- spelling or grammar errors
- unusual title on an email
- messages that are received at unusual hours, like 1 am
- being included on an email with other people that you do not know
Helpful information If You Are Caught In A Phishing Scam
The federal trade commission outlines on their educational website how to properly report phishing emails and texts. You can find these helpful tips here.
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