What is Phishing?
Phishing, also known as “spoofing” is a trick Internet criminals use to steal your identity. Basically, fishing is when an Internet thief send you a disguised email appearing to come from your bank, school, work or any other place. They capitalize on the trust that you have from an email coming from any of these places and exploited to get you to reveal usernames and passwords so that they can then log into your accounts and steal information and even money.
Another tactic of phishing scams is to direct you to a fake website that looks like your banks website, or any other institution. When you enter your username and password, it’s collected by the Internet thief in used to then log into your account. If they can access your login details without you being aware of it, then they can slowly siphon money from you over a long period of time. However, in most cases don’t get as much money as they can upfront and split.
One of the reasons why phishing scams are so successful is because the thieves go through a lot of trouble to make the emails and the websites they may send you to look extremely authentic. In some cases, you can even tell the difference between a banks website and the fake one produced by the criminal.
Advanced phishing scams are able to make links look like authentic once. Once the victim clicks on the link they are taken to a fake website. In the email or on the website they will attempt to get you to reveal personal information that they can use to access your account.
Often, once the thieves have your login and password for one of your accounts, such as a bank account, there often then very successful in hacking into your other accounts, such as your email account, because unfortunately many people use the same password for several different accounts. Once they get one password, they are then able to get into all your accounts.
How to Protect Yourself Against Phishing
1- If you are unsure that an email from your bank is authentic, there are two things you can do. One, go to Google and search for your banks website and click on the search result for your bank. You can know for sure that this is your bank because Google will not serve you a fake bank. Second, get the bank’s phone number from the website after clicking through to it from Google and call your bank and deal with a representative directly.
2- if you receive an email from a bank or other company asking you to click on a link to go to the website and update information, hover your cursor over the link and look at the bottom left of your browser. It should show you the URL address that you would be taking two of you clicked on it. If it doesn’t match your banks website, then don’t click on it. It could be a long URL that includes your bank’s name but with other text. That’s a strong indication that it’s a fake site.
3-Many companies use secure webpages. If the URL doesn’t begin with “https” in front of the website address, or there isn’t a lock icon at the bottom, then it’s likely a phishing scam.
4- No bank or company is going to send you an email asking for any personal information such as your password or Social Security number. It is most likely a scam if you receive an email asking for any of this kind of personal information. Call the company on the phone and asked them if they sent you the email.
5- Phishing websites are likely to have long Internet addresses. Another dead giveaway is that the Internet address ends in .ru, instead of.com or.org.
6- As mentioned, if you have any doubt contact the company directly over the phone and share with them the email you received.
7-Always report suspicious emails to the company in question and your Internet service provider.
8-Finally, if you have unfortunately found yourself to be a victim of cyber crime, immediately file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.