Phishing scams (pronounced as “fishing”) are classified under the kind of online scams where a person will send you a seemingly official email and ask you for sensitive information. Some examples of information that they want are your bank account number, password, and PIN numbers. This online scam is often pulled off by sending a message to your email or instant messaging account.
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The email from the scammer will give you a link that is supposed to take you to the official company website. While the page you land on might look like it’s legitimate, it actually is only a “cloned” website designed to con you into giving out personal information. Once you have entered your credentials, the people who sent you the phishing scam will use it to access data on your computer, your company’s server, and other computers connected to the network.
This kind of scam has been around for a long time, and yet many people still fall for this bait. The people sending phishing scams are experts in creating sites that are similar to official sites that people who don’t pay close attention can become victims easily. This is why it is important that you should be more alert when opening emails and attachments.
Some of the other things you can do to prevent phishing scams are:
1. Be wary of giving personal information away – your bank will never ask for your PIN number or other sensitive information via email. They already have your records and can easily retrieve them from their database so why would they need to ask for your personal details. You may be encountering a phishing scam so do not give away your personal information without thoroughly inspecting the email that it came from.
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2. Use your bookmarks to go to your company website – these are safer than clicking on a link provided by the phishing scammer.
3. Install anti-malware software that will detect malicious sites – Ask your company IT department to install anti-malware software or anti-virus software that will automatically prompt you if it suspects that the site you are about to visit is a malicious site. Most anti-virus software contains this security component but just to ensure that it is available to you, you should contact your office IT to verify.
4. Be more aware of outside email and official emails – just because the name of the sender is familiar does not mean he is trustworthy. Check emails that you get to make sure they come from legitimate personnel. Your office most likely has an online directory you can check to see if the email matches the name of the person sending it.
5. Report suspicious email to your IT department – you can help your IT department identify the sources of phishing scams by reporting it to them. This way they can set up a cyber blocker that would stop the sender from sending any more malicious email to your company.
Your vigilance will save you from becoming a victim of a phishing scam. Always be alert when you read emails and do not accept files from people you don’t know. There are such things as a reading pane to show you the content of the emails without the need to open them. Use these reading panes to protect your computer from getting infected by a phishing scam.