Posted On 22 Sep 2020
Phishing is a type of attack made by email where a malicious actor pretends that they are an individual, business, or trusted website to trick you into revealing your passwords, bank details, etc or even to take control of your computer. Falling for such attacks can be extremely damaging and expensive, so follow the tips below to keep yourself protected.
When you receive an email, firstly check whether you know person or business it is coming from. If it’s somebody you don’t know, think carefully before you reply, click on any links, or download any attachments. If it seems to be from a person or business you do know, check that the address is spelled correctly; phishers will frequently use emails with addresses that look similar to ones you might know, e.g. instead of [email protected] it might be [email protected] Always be wary of any email that asks you to click on links or use your password. If your bank, for example, want you to take action on something, it will tell you to go to your account and look for notifications, it won’t ask you to log in through the email and provide a password. Never simply click through to an account, always go to your service provider’s official website or app and log in that way.
If you follow the advice above and find something that you believe to be a phishing attack, make sure you report it to the person or company that the phisher is pretending they are from. Big companies have whole teams of people whose only job is to track down and close down phishing operations; by letting them know there is one operating, you’ll be helping to protect both yourself and other customers.
As well as being aware of phishing attacks, you should also be looking out for smishing (phishing done by SMS) or vishing (phishing done by voice on the phone). Always apply the basic rule that has stood people in good step down the ages, which is that when something seems too good to be true, it most likely isn’t true. Use your common sense and don’t let phishers scam you into foolish actions: if you haven’t entered a competition to win a new car, is it likely that you will be awarded one out of the blue? If you know you have $2000 in your checking account, why would the bank be emailing you to say you must put in $1000 at once or they will close your account? Taking some very basic precautions and pausing for thought can save you a lot of heartbreak and financial loss.