What Is a Phishing Scam and How to Stay Safe

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Phishing scams are growing in number each day. They can be sent to you through social media i.e., Facebook and Twitter, or you can be targeted through direct emails sent to your inbox. Text messages and phone calls are now also joining in as methods used by phishers. But how does one stay safe?

What Is It?

A phishing scam tries to steal a person’s money by gaining access to sensitive information stored on their computer or cell phone. No pc security or cell phone security protocol is complete without a heavy emphasis on phishing scams. Hackers get access to personal information by installing malicious pieces of code onto the device.

In some cases social engineering is also used to help convince a user to actually give away their personal details willingly by convincing them that the request is coming from the legitimate source. For instance, you could get a text or an email from your bank asking you to login somewhere or to send your personal details. Because the request looks so authentic many people end up playing into a hacker’s hands.

How to Spot a Scam
  • If the email has links within its body then there is a likelihood that it is scam. Don’t click on any of the links but hover your mouse over it, if the drop down link is different from the one that has been stated in the email then you may have just dodged a bullet.

  • Scammers don’t spend much time ensuring the literary aspects of their scams. Look out for bad grammar and spelling mistakes in the email. For example, an actual email from your bank could never have mistakes in it because they have a proper staff to ensure consistency before sending any correspondence through.

  • Emails and messages telling your to respond immediately or else your account will be closed are always fake. These trips are used on several inboxes such as Gmail or Hotmail, and even on services such as Whatsapp. Many people who aren’t sure of how to stop the threat end up clicking on the links.

  • Avoid spoofs at all costs. A popular method for scammers is to use webpages that look like they belong to actual companies and websites. You may get a pop-up which looks exactly like Facebook when in reality it is nothing more than a fake link. Hover your mouse over all links to check if they are leading you elsewhere. And get in touch with your official service providers to ensure that they are real before going ahead and offering sensitive information.

  • In almost all cases no website or company asks you to hand over your password or any other sensitive information in this manner. So whenever you see a request for personal information either ignore it or find someone how can verify the request first.

Scams and phishing are not new problems and have been around for a while. Being a little more skeptical of the requests that you get will keep you extremely safe.

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