In these difficult moments there are still some miscreant and unscrupulous persons who are using unholy means of defrauding people. Whiles some are defrauding physically others also are using the internet. One of the cybercrimes in the rise is phishing. Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers. These scammer use email or text messages to trick you into giving them your personal details of financial information. This write-up is to draw your attention to this current phenomenon and what you can do to protect yourself.
How to recognize phishing
Scammers use email or text messages to trick you into giving them your personal information. They may try to steal your passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. If they get that information, they could gain access to your email, bank, or other accounts. Scammers launch thousands of phishing attacks like these every day — and they’re often successful. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center reported that people lost $ 57 million to phishing schemes in one year.
Scammers often update their tactics, but there are some signs that will help you recognize a phishing email or text message.
Phishing emails and text messages may look like they’re from a company you know or trust. They may look like they’re from a bank, a credit card company, a social networking site, an online payment website or app, or an online store.
Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. They may:
say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts
claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information
say you must confirm some personal information
include a fake invoice
want you to click on a link to make a payment
say you’re eligible to register for a government refund
offer a coupon for free stuff
Imagine you saw this in your inbox. Do you see any signs that it’s a scam? Let’s take a look.
The email looks like it’s from a company you may know and trust: Apple. It even uses Apple logo. Making it more difficult for me to doubt
The email says my Apple ID has blocked for security reasons. Meanwhile “I don’t use apple product ooo”.
They always have generic greeting or salutation for eg: “Hi Dear.” Or Dear Client. In my case it says Dear Client. If you have an account with the business, it probably wouldn’t use a generic greeting like this. You would notice that messages from your bankers will use your name
The email invites you to click on a link to update your payment details.
While, at a glance, this email might look real, it’s not.
The scammers who send emails like this one do not have anything to do with the companies they pretend to be. Phishing emails can have real consequences for people who give scammers their information. And they can harm the reputation of the companies they’re spoofing that is why we need to be on alert with our emails.
How to protect yourself from Phishing attacks
Your email spam filters may keep many phishing emails out of your inbox. But scammers are always trying to outsmart spam filters, so it’s a good idea to add extra layers of protection. Here are four steps to follow to protect yourself from phishing attacks
Protect your computer by using security software. Set the software to update automatically so it can deal with any new security threats.
Protect your mobile phone by setting software to update automatically. These updates could give you critical protection against security threats.
Protect your accounts by using multi-factor authentication. Some accounts offer extra security by requiring two or more credentials to log in to your account. This makes it harder for scammers to log in to your accounts if they do get your username and password.
Protect your data by backing it up. Back up your data and make sure those backups aren’t connected to your home network. You can copy your computer files to an external hard drive or cloud storage. Back up the data on your phone, too.
What to do if you suspect a phishing attack
There are two basic questions you should ask yourself in case you happen to get an email or a text message that asks you to click on a link or open an attachment:
Do I have an account with the company?
Do I know the person that contacted me?
If the answer is “No,” it could be a phishing scam. Quickly look for signs of a phishing scam. If you see them, report the message immediately and then delete it.
But if the answer is “Yes,” contact the company directly using a phone number or website you know is real or go to the office in person.
What to do if you responded to a phishing mail
If you think a scammer has your information, like your credit card, or bank details, go to identityTheft.gov, there you’ll see the specific steps to take based on the information that you lost.
If you think you clicked on a link or opened an attachment that downloaded harmful software, quickly update your computer’s or phone’s security software and then run a scan.
Now you what to do if you get a phishing text message or mail. Be on your guard and don’t be updating or clicking anything that comes to you. If you did that you would be risking yourself.
SOURCE: Rev. Fr. Stephen Kofi Sakpaku