06 Jul Prevent Email Phishing Scams
Quick Guide to Preventing Email (and other) Phishing Scams
We’ve probably all seen them before. Fake emails being delivered to our inbox (which are also sent out to multiple other random people) that request our bank details and provide bogus links to scam sites.
These emails are known as phishing scams, as they tend to try and trick the user into sending money to someone for a fake hospital appointment or a late phone bill. Your details can then be stolen and sold on, meaning that you’re the victim of multiple crimes. You can fall victim to this yourself or have someone fall victim to it for you – be that in error or on purpose.
James Scott, Sr. once said, “Hackers find more success with organisations where employees are underappreciated, overworked and underpaid. Why would anyone in an organisation like that care enough to think twice before clicking on a phishing email?”.
Keeping that in mind, phishing emails are becoming much harder to spot than they were previously. This is because they tend to utilise the imagery and wording that big-brand businesses use, making their emails look much more believable.
Regardless of whether you’re operating as a business and someone else is responsible for managing your emails or you are operating within your own personal email inbox, the likelihood is that you have received one or more phishing scam emails. So, how do you prevent yourself from being a victim of these?
Here is a quick guide to preventing email phishing scams.
Keep Informed on Phishing Techniques
Scammers are always coming up with new ways of phishing, meaning that you always need to be on the ball with the latest developments. Without staying on top of them, it’s all too easy to fall victim to one of them. Find a scam news feed to follow and see what the most recent attempts at phishing have been.
Think About It
If an email has been sent to you that features a link for you to “send money” or “reactivate your account”, for example, it’s always good to be wary. Most companies won’t contact you via email if you have an account in arrears. While a phishing email may look legitimate, make sure that you can read the email address it has come from. It should be quite easy to differentiate between a legitimate email address and a scam one.
Install and Use an Anti-Phishing Toolbar
Because phishing has become such a high-profile issue now, many Internet browsers have been customised to include anti-phishing toolbars. These can be installed easily and will run checks on the websites that you visit and then compare them with a list of known phishing websites. The toolbar will always alert you about it if a website flags up as malicious.
Keep a Check on Your Online Accounts
It is important that if you have money or personal information in an online account somewhere, that you visit it on a frequent enough basis. Even if you haven’t used it for a month or two and nothing has changed with it, it’s always best to check. At the same time, it is ideal to get into the habit of altering your password frequently. And check your bank statements clearly and consistently.
Make Use of Firewalls
A firewall is basically a buffer between your computer and anything from the outside world. It is ideal to make use of a desktop firewall as well as a network firewall. When used at the same time, they manage to significantly reduce the odds of black hat hackers being able to make their way into your computer network and steal your valuable data.
Make Sure Your Web Browser is Up-to-Date
Popular browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and so on have security patches created and released for them frequently. These are crafted in response to the loopholes that phishers and hackers manage to exploit in security systems. Don’t put off updating your web browser, because these patches provide that extra layer of security that is needed against phishing.
Beware of Pop-Ups
Does anybody really like pop-ups? They were created to divert our attention in an instant, and usually don’t contain anything relevant for us to see. Despite this, they often masquerade as being legitimate parts of an online website. Unfortunately, more often than not, they are phishing attempts. Pop-ups can be blocked in many web browsers though, and even if one manages to slide by this, always use the ‘x’ in the upper corner of the window to get rid of such from your screen.
Don’t Give Out Personal Details and Sensitive Data
It is always important that you never share your personal and private details with anyone else via the Internet. This is especially true when it comes to financial information. A legitimate company should never ask for this information via email, and if you aren’t sure, then it is always best to not proceed.