Phishing scams are attempts by scammers to trick you into giving them personal information such as passwords, bank details, card numbers and in some cases to actually encourage the user to make payments.
What should you look out for?
- The email address – is it the right one for that person? The email may have been sent from a completely different address or a free web address
- The email greeting – the email does not use your proper name, but uses a non-specific greeting such as ‘dear customer’
- Spelling and grammatical mistakes – broken English can be an indication of something suspicious
- Beware of any links – if you see a link in an email, make sure the web address is the correct one, if you are unsure, DO NOT click on it!
- Threats – scammers tend to use the threat of your account being closed if you do not respond or that your account has been compromised
- Spoofing popular websites – scammers will use graphics in emails that appear to be connected to legitimate websites. They also use web addresses that resemble the names of well-known companies, but are slightly altered
- Genuine websites will have a padlock in the address bar for the webpage. If you are not sure whether a site is genuine, click on the padlock and check the security certificate.
Scammers also use calling techniques to gain access to your computer and network. They may ask you for your username and password, or to go to a website and install software to gain access to your machine. Once they have access, your personal information is vulnerable.
These types of scams can never be completely stopped (as much as we may want to!), so user education is key to preventing businesses from being duped by these scammers. Knowing what to look out for and being vigilant will help towards thwarting these intrusions into everyday life.
The most important point to remember is if the email is asking for payment, phone the person in question, a quick call will confirm if the request is genuine or not!