What Is A Phishing Scam?
Phishing emails are designed to look like legitimate messages from actual banks, businesses, and other organizations. In reality, though, criminals created the message, usually in an effort to steal your money, identity, or both. They want you to click links that will take you to a website that looks authentic but is really just there to capture your credit card or other personal information or perhaps to distribute malware.
Here Are Some Ways To Spot Phishing Emails And What You Can Do To Protect Yourself From Phishing Scams.
1. The email has improper spelling or grammar
This is one of the most common signs that an email isn’t legitimate. Sometimes, the mistake is easy to spot, such as ‘Dear eBay Costumer’ instead of ‘Dear eBay Customer.
Others might be more difficult to spot, so make sure to look at the email in closer detail. For example, the subject line or the email itself might say “Health coverage for the unemployed.” The word unemployed isn’t exactly difficult to spell. And any legitimate organizations would have editors who review their marketing emails carefully before sending it out. So when in doubt, check the email closely for misspellings and improper grammar.
2. The hyperlinked URL is different from the one shown
The hypertext link in a phishing email may include, say, the name of a legitimate bank.
But when you hover the mouse over the link (without clicking it), you may discover in a small pop-up window that the actual URL differs from the one displayed and doesn’t contain the bank’s name. (You should be aware that not all email software would show the actual URL in a pop-up window, however). Similarly, you can hover your mouse over the address in the ‘from’ field to see if the website domain matches that of the organization the email is supposed to have been sent from.
3. The email urges you to take immediate action
Often, a phishing email tries to trick you into clicking a link by claiming that your account has been closed or put on hold, or that there’s been fraudulent activity requiring your immediate attention. Of course, it’s possible you may receive a legitimate message informing you to take action on your account. To be safe, though, don’t click the link in the email, no matter how authentic it appears to be. Instead, log into the account in question directly by visiting the appropriate website, then check your account status.
4. The email requests for personal information
Reputable organizations don’t ask their customers for personal information via email. If you have a checking account, your bank already knows your account number.
5. The email says you’ve won a contest you haven’t entered
A common phishing scam is to send an email informing recipients they’ve won a lottery or some other prize. All they have to do is click the link and enter their personal information online.
Chances are if you’ve never bought a lottery ticket or entered to win a prize, the email is a scam.
6. The email asks you to make a donation
As unbelievable as it may seem, scam artists often send out phishing emails inviting recipients to donate to a worthy cause after a natural or other tragedy. For example, after Hurricane Katrina, the American Red Cross reported more than 15 fraudulent websites were designed to look like legitimate Red Cross appeals for relief efforts.
Potential victims received phishing emails asking them to donate to the Red Cross, with links to malicious sites that stole their credit card numbers. If you’d like to make a donation to a charity, do so by visiting their website directly.
7. The email includes suspicious attachments
It would be highly unusual for a legitimate organization to send you an email with an attachment unless it’s a document you’ve requested. As always, if you receive an email that looks in any way suspicious, never click to download the attachment, as it could be malware.
8. Beware of pop-us
Do not click on links in a pop-up screen. Do not copy web addresses into your browser from pop-ups. Legitimate enterprises should never ask you to submit personal information in a pop-up
9. Check your online accounts
Check your online accounts and bank statements regularly to ensure that no unauthorized transactions have been made.
10. Protect your computer
Protect your computer & network with a firewall, spam filters, anti-virus, anti-spyware software. Update them regularly to ensure that you are blocking from new viruses and spyware.
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