Phishing is a common cybercrime that involves contacting potential victims by text or email, posing as a legitimate organization, and luring people into doling out their data.
Think banking and credit card info, passwords, and other important information predators can use to steal your money or identity.
Sounds scary, right?
The most alarming thing about phishing is that these messages almost always look as though they’re from a company you trust. It could be your bank, a credit card company, or a social networking site—addressing you with a sense of urgency so that you fork over what they want.
Not anymore, though. With these tools in your arsenal, you can preserve your data and protect yourself from phishing attacks. Here are some tips for doing just that:
· Keep an eye out for that sense of urgency.
If you’re forced to act fast, then you won’t (necessarily) have time to think.
Cybercriminals who’ve gone phishin’ are out there telling you to update your Netflix password ASAP before your account is deleted forever, or to click a suspicious link by the end of the day so that Amazon can deliver your package.
Trusted sources don’t hit you up via text or email and suspiciously demand payment.
Real, reliable platforms won’t ask you to update your account over the internet.
If you’re in any way uncertain, visit the website directly to confirm whether you’re being phished.
· Be skeptical of hyperlinks and attachments.
Links aren’t always what they seem.
Before clicking whatever a potential scammer sends your way, hover over the link to see where it’ll take you.
In most cases, in the event of phishing, the source will either be entirely different from what it claims, or it’ll end up being a slightly misspelled version of a seemingly trustworthy source. For instance, what looks like wellsfargo.com may in fact be welllsfargo.com.
Speaking of sketchy email content, attachments can be problematic as well. If you see an attachment in an email you weren’t anticipating, do not open it. It could contain viruses like ransomware.
· The email includes a lucrative offer.
Not all phishing is designed to get you to pay up—at least not from the outside.
Some scammers will actually try to butter you up with appealing offers and exciting statements.
For instance, certain phishing attacks will inform you you’ve won a free iPhone or laptop, or another prize you didn’t actually enter to win.
You know the saying about how things that seem too good to be true usually are?
The person who came up with that was on to something.