How to recognize and avoid phishing scams

Phishing

What is Phishing

PERPLEXITY

Phishing scams are a common type of fraud where scammers use email, text messages, or social media to trick people into revealing their personal information, such as passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. Here are some tips on how to recognize and avoid phishing scams:

  1. Be wary of unexpected messages: Scammers often use unexpected messages that look like they’re from a company you know or trust, like a bank or a credit card or utility company. If you receive a message that you weren’t expecting, be cautious and don’t click on any links or download any attachments
  2. Check the sender’s information: If you receive an email or text message from someone you don’t know, or if the sender’s information looks suspicious, don’t respond or click on any links. Scammers often use fake email addresses or phone numbers to trick people into thinking the message is legitimate
  3. Look for warning signs: Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. Some common warning signs include urgent calls to action, threats, or requests for personal or financial information
  4. Use anti-phishing tools: Many modern browsers have built-in protection against fraudulent sites, and most antivirus and security suite products add their own protection against phishing. These tools can help you avoid phishing scams
  5. Report suspicious messages: If you receive a suspicious message, report it to the appropriate authorities. You can report spam or other suspicious messages to your email provider, block unwanted messages and calls, or report scam phone calls to the Federal Trade Commission

Remember, scammers are always coming up with new ways to trick people, so it’s important to stay vigilant and informed. If you suspect that you are being phished, stop and think before taking any action. Do your research and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Sources

ftc
1. How to Recognize and Avoid Phishing Scams | Consumer Advice
How To Recognize Phishing * say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts — they haven’t. * claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information — there isn’t. * say you need to confirm some personal or financial information — you don’t. * include an invoice you don’t recognize — it’s fake.
microsoft
2. Protect yourself from phishing – Microsoft Support
The best defense is awareness and knowing what to look for. Here are some ways to recognize a phishing email: Urgent call to action or threats – Be suspicious …
cyber
3. Don’t take the bait: Recognize and avoid phishing attacks – ITSAP.00.101
Something may be phishy if: · you don’t recognize the sender’s name, email address, or phone number (e.g. very common for spear phishing) · you …
pcmag
4. Don’t Be Caught by Email Scams: How to Avoid Phishing | PCMag
To avoid the pain of getting scammed out of your much-needed cash, or the embarrassment of giving away your sensitive data to a fraud, make use of available …
apple
5. Recognize and avoid phishing messages, phony support calls, and other scams
Use these tips to avoid scams and learn what to do if you receive suspicious emails, phone calls, or other messages.
phishing
6. 10 Ways to Avoid Phishing Scams
10 Ways To Avoid Phishing Scams · 1. Keep Informed About Phishing Techniques · 2. Think Before You Click! · 3. Install an Anti-Phishing Toolbar · 4. Verify a Site’s …
nc
7. Avoiding Phishing Attacks | NCDIT
Think before you act. Be wary of communications that implore you to act immediately, offer something that sounds too good to be true or ask for personal or …
texasattorneygeneral
8. Common Scams | Office of the Attorney General
We’re always tracking consumer scams. Here’s a list of some common types—and how you can spot, avoid, and report them.
consumerfinance
9. Fraud and scams | Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Fraud and scams. Losing money or property to scams and fraud can be devastating. Our resources can help you prevent, recognize, and report scams and fraud.
fbi
10. Common Scams and Crimes – FBI
Charity fraud scams can come in many forms: emails, social media posts, crowdfunding platforms, cold calls, etc.

 

What are some common types of phishing scams?
PERPLEXITY

Phishing scams are a common type of fraud where scammers use email, text messages, or social media to trick people into revealing their personal information, such as passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. Here are some common types of phishing scams:

  1. Email phishing: This is the most common type of phishing attack, where the scammer will register a fake domain that mimics a genuine organization and sends thousands of generic requests. The fake domain often involves character substitution, like using ‘r’ and ‘n’ next to each other to create ‘rn’ instead of ‘m’ 
  2. Spear phishing: This is a more sophisticated type of phishing attack that targets specific individuals or organizations. The scammer will use personal information to make the message seem more legitimate and increase the chances of success
  3. Whaling: This type of phishing attack targets senior executives or high-profile individuals within an organization. The scammer will use personal information to make the message seem more legitimate and increase the chances of success
  4. Smishing and vishing: These types of phishing attacks use text messages (smishing) or phone calls (vishing) to trick people into revealing their personal information. The scammer will often use urgent calls to action or threats to increase the chances of success
  5. Deceptive phishing: This type of phishing scam involves fraudsters impersonating a legitimate company to trick people into revealing their personal information. The message appears to be legitimate and from a trusted source, like a bank or a courier company
  6. Charity fraud scams: These scams can come in many forms, including emails, social media posts, crowdfunding platforms, and cold calls. They are especially common after high-profile disasters. Always use caution and do your research when you’re looking to donate to charitable causes

Remember, scammers are always coming up with new ways to trick people, so it’s important to stay vigilant and informed. If you suspect that you are being phished, stop and think before taking any action. Do your research and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

How to identify a phishing email or message?
PERPLEXITY

Phishing emails or messages are designed to trick people into revealing their personal information, such as passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. Here are some ways to identify a phishing email or message:

  1. Check the sender’s information: If you receive an email or message from someone you don’t know, or if the sender’s information looks suspicious, don’t respond or click on any links. Scammers often use fake email addresses or phone numbers to trick people into thinking the message is legitimate
  2. Look for warning signs: Phishing emails and messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. Some common warning signs include urgent calls to action, threats, or requests for personal or financial information
  3. Check the domain name: If the domain name (the bit after the @ symbol) matches the apparent sender of the email, the message is probably legitimate. By contrast, if the email comes from an address that isn’t affiliated with the apparent sender, it’s almost certainly a scam
  4. Check for spelling and grammar errors: Phishing emails often contain spelling and grammar errors, which can be a sign that the message is not legitimate
  5. Hover over links: If you’re not sure whether a link is legitimate, hover over it with your mouse to see where it leads. If the link doesn’t match the text of the message or looks suspicious, don’t click on it

Remember, scammers are always coming up with new ways to trick people, so it’s important to stay vigilant and informed. If you suspect that you are being phished, stop and think before taking any action. Do your research and don’t be afraid to ask for help.\

What is the Phishing?

Phishing is a type of social engineering attack where attackers deceive people into revealing sensitive information or installing malware such as ransomware. The word “phishing” comes from the analogy of fishing, where attackers “fish” for usernames, passwords, and other sensitive information from a “sea” of users.

Phishing attacks are often carried out through email, but they can also be conducted through text messages, phone calls, and even social media. In an email phishing attack, the attacker will send an email that appears to be from a legitimate source, such as a bank or credit card company. The email will often contain a link or attachment that, when clicked, will take the victim to a fake website that looks like the real website. Once the victim enters their personal information on the fake website, the attacker can steal it.

There are many different types of phishing attacks, but some of the most common include:

  • Email phishing: This is the most common type of phishing attack. The attacker sends an email that appears to be from a legitimate source, such as a bank or credit card company. The email will often contain a link or attachment that, when clicked, will take the victim to a fake website that looks like the real website. Once the victim enters their personal information on the fake website, the attacker can steal it.
  • Spear phishing: This is a more targeted type of phishing attack. The attacker will gather information about the victim, such as their name, company, and job title, and then use that information to create a more believable phishing email. Spear phishing emails are often more successful than regular email phishing emails because they appear to be more legitimate.
  • Whaling: This is a type of spear phishing attack that targets high-level executives. Whaling emails are often very well-crafted and can be very convincing.
  • Smishing: This is a type of phishing attack that uses text messages instead of email. Smishing messages often contain a link or phone number that, when clicked or called, will take the victim to a fake website or a phone number that is controlled by the attacker.
  • Vishing: This is a type of phishing attack that uses phone calls instead of email or text messages. Vishing calls often come from people who pretend to be from a legitimate company, such as a bank or credit card company. The caller will often ask the victim for their personal information, such as their Social Security number or credit card number.

Phishing attacks can be very dangerous, and they can have a significant financial impact on victims. If you receive an email or text message that seems suspicious, it is important to be very careful before clicking on any links or providing any personal information.

Here are some tips to help you avoid phishing attacks:

  • Be suspicious of emails or text messages that ask for personal information. Legitimate companies will never ask for your personal information over email or text message.
  • Do not click on links in emails or text messages unless you are sure they are legitimate. If you are not sure, hover over the link to see the actual URL. If the URL does not match the website you are expecting, do not click on it.
  • Be careful about providing personal information over the phone. If someone calls you and asks for your personal information, hang up and call the company directly to verify the request.
  • Keep your software up to date. Software updates often include security patches that can help protect you from phishing attacks.
  • Use a security solution. A security solution can help protect you from phishing attacks by scanning emails and websites for malicious content.

By following these tips, you can help protect yourself from phishing attacks.

 

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Dr. Don Yates, Sr. Ph.D., Founder ICFO
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