Avoid Falling Victim to Phishing

Although email has made communications faster and easier than ever, it has also provided new avenues for cybercriminals to take advantage of people through phishing. Phishing is conducted by bad actors and cybercriminals attempting to collect personal information such as passwords and usernames and other user information through email.

Here are four tips to help you avoid falling victim to phishing emails.

1. Be careful before you click that link: Phishers include links in their emails hoping you’ll click on them. No matter what information the email is requesting, it is almost certainly going to include a link. If you receive an email with a link you were not expecting – do not click on it. Often the link can appear to be for one website when actually diverting the person who clicked on it to another site. If you suspect the link is legitimate, type the link into the browser yourself.

2. A sense of urgency: Cybercriminals try to increase the odds you’ll provide the information they want by creating a sense of urgency. Sometimes that is as simple as the word URGENT in the subject line. In other instances, the phisher makes it appear you’ll lose money or a bill is unpaid and must be dealt with immediately.

Don’t fall victim to the sense of urgency. Remember you can always contact the bank, vendor or government agency by phone to confirm if should you have concerns.

3. Protect your personal information: The primary goal of phishers is to collect as much personal information as possible. The more information they have, the easier it is to perform identity theft. Always be cautious and never send your personal information through email or an unsecured website. Even if you trust the source of the request, providing sensitive information in email or an unsecured website means your information can be seen by other parties. If you must share the information, call the requestor on the on phone.

4. Spotting a phishing email: There are a variety of other signs that give away a phishing email such as poor spelling and grammatical errors. Other clues include requests to verify your account or warnings your account has been compromised. Remember, most vendors and government agencies will not contact you via email for such issues.

Author: Bill Green