Scammers may try to get your personal information by using emails or texting you. They may try to obtain your passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. If they acquire that data, they can obtain access to your email, bank account, and other accounts. Phishing assaults like these are launched every day by scammers — and they’re frequently successful. People lost $57 million as a result of phishing scams in one year, according to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
Scammers are constantly evolving their methods, but certain indicators can help you identify a phishing email or text message. They could appear to be from a company you’re familiar with or trust. They might resemble bank statements, credit card statements, social networking profile updates, online payment websites, and apps, or online stores.
Phishing emails and text messages frequently employ a narrative to entice you to click on a link or open an attachment. They may attempt the following:
- claim that they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts
- claim that your account or your payment information has an issue
- claim that you need to confirm some personal information
- send a fake invoice
- instruct you to click a link to process payment
- claim that you are eligible to register for a government refund
- offer a coupon for freebies
Types of Phishing Scams
Although the primary objective is always the same, criminals have discovered numerous methods to launch their attack. Here are several of the most frequent ways in which they attack people.
The majority of phishing assaults are delivered by email. The con man will set up a phony domain that resembles a genuine company and send thousands of standard requests. Character substitution is common, such as substituting ‘r’ for ‘m’ or ‘n’ for ‘m.’ A phishing email may be identified in a variety of ways, but as a general guideline, always examine the address of an email message that asks you to click or download an attachment.
Spear phishing is a more sophisticated form of phishing that involves emails to a single person. This type of crime will most likely already have all or part of the following details about the victim:
- Place of employment
- Job title
- Email address
- information about their job role.
Whaling attacks are extremely targeted, targeting senior executives. Although the goal of whaling is the same as any other type of phishing attack, the method tends to be a lot quieter. Tricks such as false links and malicious URLs aren’t useful in this case because criminals are attempting to impersonate high-level employees. Scams involving fraudulent tax returns have become increasingly popular in recent years.
Smishing and vishing
Telephones are replacing emails as a method of communication in both smishing and vishing. In smishing, criminals send text messages (containing the same type of fraudulent content as email phishing), whereas, in vishing, they conduct a phone conversation. A typical vishing scam is perpetrated by a criminal who claims to be from the card company or bank and informs the victim that their account has been hacked.
The extortionist will request payment card data to authenticate the victim’s identity or transfer money into a “safe” account – by which they mean the criminal’s account – after which he will threaten them.
Social media is a relatively new attack vector, and it provides a slew of options for scammers to dupe people. Fake URLs; cloned websites, postings, and tweets; and instant messaging (which is essentially the same as smishing) may all be used to persuade individuals to give up personal information or install malware. Criminals may also utilize data that people provide on social media platforms to launch highly focused attacks.
How to Avoid Internet Identity Theft and Phishing Attacks
Phishing emails are often caught by your email spam filters. Scammers, on the other hand, are always trying to overcome spam filters. Today is a good day to learn how to defend yourself against phishing assaults because scammers are always striving to outsmart spam filters. Here are four precautions you can take right now to avoid being fooled by a phishing scam.
- Using security software to safeguard your computer is a must. Make sure the program is set to automatically update to respond to any new security concerns.
- Set automatic software updates to keep your mobile phone safe. These upgrades might provide you with vital security protection.
- Use multi-factor authentication to protect your accounts. Some services, such as Google, Yahoo!, and Gmail, allow you to secure your account with two or more passwords. This is known as multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication makes it more difficult for identity thieves to access your accounts if they obtain your username and password.
- Back up your data so it can be recovered in the case of a disaster. Make sure any backups aren’t linked to your home network. You may copy your computer files to an external hard drive or cloud storage. Back up your phone’s data, too.