Gone Phishing | Staying Safe Online and Avoiding Scams

Gone Phishing | Staying Safe Online and Avoiding Scams

Phishing scams are all too common. Odds are, at one time or another, you’ve been contacted by some sort of foreign royalty. Maybe they suddenly realized you were an heir to the royal fortune or in some cases they might just need a bit of help transferring a few million dollars out of the country and fortunately YOU, of all people, were selected to help! To most of us, it’s very apparent that these situations are absolute scams, if it’s not the extremely outlandish situation they lay out that gives it away, the frequent misspellings usually help. While schemes like this are quite obviously illegitimate, there are many more that might be a little trickier to detect before it’s too late.

Phishing is a cybercrime where the target is contacted by phone, email or text message by someone, posing as someone else, in an attempt to gain some type of sensitive personal information (passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers etc…). Many of these scams are getting harder and harder to detect. The scammer may have access to names of people in your company and be able to spoof their email.

Here are some things to look out for to avoid becoming a victim of a phishing attack:

  • Often the sending domain or web domain of an attacker will be similar to a well-known company, but not correct. For example, they may be trying to spoof wellsfargo.com and could use vvellsfargo.com. At a quick glance, it’s easy to mistake two v’s for a single w.
  • Does the email appear to come from someone within your company but feels like a strange request? Email them to confirm before clicking any links or sending any info. If something seems off, it probably is and you may be able to save yourself a massive headache by quickly double checking that the request was legitimate.
  • Always be careful opening attachments, especially if it’s from someone you don’t know. Is this unknown person requesting you to confirm some details on a document they’ve attached but you notice the file type is not .pdf but instead it is an .exe? On a windows machine an .exe file is an executable file. This means it is capable of being run as a program on your computer. You can bet this software will be malicious.
  • Is the sender requesting you click on a link? Hover over the link. If the URL that is displayed in the bottom left of your browser is different from the URL you are hovering over, you may want to take a better look at where it’s taking you.
  • All in all, when you receive an email, phone call or text that seems strange or is requesting sensitive information, take a few extra seconds to make sure everything is legitimate. A quick review before acting could potentially save you dozens of phone calls and hours of your time.

    For more information on what to look for and how to avoid being phished, head on over to:

    https://www.phishing.org/what-is-phishing

    (did you hover over that link before you thought to click it?)


    Written By:

    Matt Cook | Marketing Manager