There is no shortage of unscrupulous individuals ready to defraud you of your property and money. The same can be said of the internet. One of the most common ways internet criminals will try to con you is through phishing scams. As the number of internet users across the globe increases, the risk of encountering phishing scams gets bigger and bigger.
Cyber intelligence analysts and cyber intelligence companies found a 600% rise in phishing attacks in the last few months alone. While there are plenty of anti-phishing measures you could take, newer and less experienced users who are still new to cyber attack prevention might fall susceptible to phishing attacks and other scams.
To that end, we will talk about phishing—what it is, how it has evolved, and what you can do to prevent it.
What is phishing?
Phishing is that act of tricking internet users out of money or personal information through emails, phone, or text. It is one of the most prevalent scams on the internet. More often not, scammers lure victims into trusting them by pretending to be a legitimate person or business.
Once that trust has been built, these criminals will try any means to draw out your personal information or money. They may also try to spread malware and other malicious content.
Then and now
Phishing has not changed much since its inception. Those emails from supposed Nigerian princes asking for donations and financial help were an early form of phishing. Nowadays, it has evolved to become more subtle. More often than not, phishing messages hook potential victims in with shocking subject lines to get them to click on messages.
The reason why phishing scams are prevalent to this day is because they do not require exceptional hacking skills. Phishing scams are considered social scams, wherein internet con artists try beguile users using with rather than technical knowledge. They capitalise on two things: emotion and ignorance.
What anti-phishing measures can I take?
One thing that you should know about many institutions—banks in particular—is that they will never ask for your pins or passwords through an email, text, or phone call. They will likely have access to your accounts already, so they shouldn’t need to do that at all. If any person is communicating with you pretending to be your bank or some other institution that is asking for money, be wary and verify first.
You can easily verify by Googling the organisation’s website. Avoid clicking any links in the suspected email or text, as this might take you to a website that looks and feels official. It might even sneak in some kind of malware onto your computer upon clicking.
Once you are on the official website of the organisation, look for their official contact channels. Make contact through these channels and verify the contents of the message. If it is proven to be a phishing scam, you will likely be asked to send screenshots or copies of the phishing messages in order to help the organisation prevent phishing scams in the future.
The simplest and most effective anti-phishing measure is to verify. Understanding how legitimate organisations conduct their operations on the internet is the key to maintaining the security of your sensitive information and finances. Certainly, there are software solutions to identify phishing scams, but nothing beats internet literacy.
If your business is looking for anti-phishing solutions and other security measures, send us at FraudWatch International a message. We have the cyber intelligence to prevent and deal with all internet threats.