Cons date back as far as recorded history and have scammed all sorts of people out of money and information. In the modern era, cons have evolved and changed forms to transition to the digital landscape. Phishing, at its core, is the most excellent modern-day con and is an individual’s or enterprise’s bane of existence. Phishing scams are designed to target the end-user since machines, lines of code, and software are inanimate things that can’t be conned. On the other hand, a human is prone to clicking on corrupted files and malicious links even when they know something might be “fishy.”
Criminals masquerade as legit enterprises and individuals to scam people into giving personal information, such as bank account details and login credentials and are scammed out of millions globally. Here’s our simple guide on how to detect phishing scams and avoid them.
Learn the Signs
Phishing scams are initiated through fraudulent or fake emails and texts in which the scammer poses as a trusted person or organization. You can learn the red flags that accompany these emails, such as grammatical errors, a sense of urgency, false promises, and attached files or links to websites.
Therefore, you should avoid clicking on any links in suspicious emails or downloading any attached files. However, if you end up clicking on a link and find yourself on a webpage, do not enter any personal information, account details, or user credentials, as they will most likely get stolen. Even though emails and web pages can be spoofed to look like the real deal, you should always look at the email source.
Time Urgent Emails
Phishing scams are often sent through emails that have a tone of urgency. They might even ask for personal details right off the bat, and people sometimes fall for the trap. Emails with a sense of time urgency often make tempting offers, such as claims that you’ve won a brand-new cellphone or even a million-dollar cash prize.
Similarly, some emails even make bold allegations regarding your internet activity and threaten you with government action. A typical example of an urgent email is when a scammer masquerades as an important individual asking for your account number because they want to send you a lot of money for safekeeping. These are all psychological attacks, and people tend to drop their guard.
Always make sure you do your research regarding the contents of an email and ask the right question. Why would an unknown person send you an insane amount of money? Why is Netflix asking for your bank account details when you canceled the subscription months ago? People can forget important details when they read something that takes them by surprise.
Spoofing is one of the most common types of phishing scams. Scammers have become smart at disguising their emails. People often get emails from trustworthy and famous organizations, commonly some service providers, such as Netflix, Google, or Amazon. The email asks users to submit private information, which tech companies always warn about.
Spoofed emails and web pages look exactly like the real ones, and it can be difficult to tell them apart. However, every con has a tell. Remember that no trustworthy organization, such as a bank, would require you to submit your bank account details via text or email. Moreover, emails with spoofed addresses are rarely personalized. They’re designed to target many people and usually refer to them as “Dear Customer” or “Dear Client.” Make a habit of not replying to these emails and avoid clicking on any links in the content.
How Do I Protect Myself?
You might be wondering – how does one detect phishing scams if scammers can successfully masquerade as legitimate people and businesses. You don’t need to worry. There are several sure-shot ways to protect yourself from phishing scams.
Firewalls and Email Filtering Software
Having a correctly configured firewall goes a long way in protecting your personal information. Firewalls prevent malicious attacks, block attackers from gaining access to your device and network, and act as shield walls between your server and the hacker.
Similarly, consider using email filtering software or anti-spam software. It can automatically filter malicious emails and phishing scams. The software acts to deprive the attacker of their weapon – the email. If you can’t see an email, you can’t be fooled or made to lose your guard.
Regularly Update Passwords
Regularly updating your passwords is one of the best ways to protect yourself against phishing and other cybersecurity threats. These include login credentials for social media accounts, streaming services, and even online banking apps. You can easily fall victim to phishing scams without realizing it. Regularly updating your password helps prevent criminals from gaining unsolicited access to your accounts.
Moreover, it would help if you always used different passwords for every account. It is one of the best deterrents at preventing access for attackers if they get a hold of one of your accounts. You can manage different passwords with password management software.
Awareness Training at Microsys
Experts at Microsys offer awareness training programs for company staff to detect phishing scams. Awareness training helps you and your team recognize spoofed emails and webpages, malicious links, and corrupted files.
Moreover, it covers all the points above and helps them correctly deal with ads and pop-ups, which are also common tactics employed in phishing scams.
Modern enterprises are transitioning to cloud computing to enhance performance, customer support, and improve management. Phishing scams attack the weakest link in an enterprise’s network infrastructure security, the end-user.
As a result, phishing scams can put your entire network at risk, resulting in theft and loss of data, bribery, extortion, and fraud. Our team at Microsys is dedicated to helping our clients detect phishing scams through cybersecurity services and staff training programs. A knowledgeable staff is one of the best investments in running and growing a business!