What Is Phishing?

What Is Phishing?

What Is Phishing?

Have you ever received an email requesting sensitive financial or other confidential information? Maybe an email promising you thousands of dollars if you just handle fees? These are known as phishing scams. Cybercriminals draft up emails, typically looking like a legitimate organization in an attempt to trick you and have you send over confidential information. These scams can come in a variety of different ways, here are a few tips on how to spot them.

What does a phishing email look like?

Contains Mismatched URLs

Always be sure to hover over links before clicking them, if you notice the displayed URL is different than the linked URL, this is most likely a scam. Do NOT click the links.

Contains URLs with Misleading Domain Names

Cybercriminals count on the fact that those receiving phishing emails are not super tech savvy. They may try to use subdomains to trick email recipients. Here is an example “facebook.phishingscam.com”, their hope is that you do not notice “facebook” is in fact a subdomain and not the actual website, “phishingscam.com” is.

Contains Poor Spelling and/or Grammar

Large organizations typically proof everything before it is sent, however cybercriminals seem to lack the time. If you notice grammatical and or spelling errors in an email, investigate further to verify it is a phishing scam.

Requests Personal Information

No organization should ever be requesting sensitive information from you. This includes addresses, social security numbers, bank numbers, etc. if you receive any emails requesting such information, contact the organization directly to confirm.

Requests Financial Compensation

If you ever receive an email asking for you to cover taxes, fees, shipping, etc. this is most likely a scam. No one should be requesting money via an email.

Phishing is the attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details, social security numbers, and other private details often for malicious reasons. Never give it out personal, financial or confidential information via an email.

So, what are the common types of phishing?

Spear Phishing

A direct attack on a specific individual, department or organization, email appears to be from a trusted source.

Clone Phishing

A fraudulent email created using a previously delivered email, recipient addresses, with a link and/or attachment. These are often almost identical to the original delivered email.

Whaling Attack

A type of phishing scam in which high profile executives with access to highly valuable information are targeted.

As you can tell, there are various forms of phishing scams you need to be protected from. It’s vital to ensure your anti-virus software is active and up-to-date. If you don’t have anti-virus software installed, we think Sophos and Bitdefender are really great. These programs can actively protect against phishing scams by scanning emails and websites in real time.

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