Phishing is the practice of sending emails to lure individuals to a fake website in order to reveal personal information. The email is carefully crafted to look like its coming from a reputable company that you normally deal with. Once you click what they want you to and you enter in your personal information (passwords and credit card numbers, etc.), that information can then used by cyber-criminals to access important accounts. This can often result in financial loss and identity theft. Keep in mind these messages can also come in the form of a text message or even a voice call.
How can you identify a Phishing Email?
Below are some characteristics of a Phishing mail. This is what you should pay close attention to;
- Email Sender – If the sending (from) email address seems suspicious, don’t click on anything in the email! For example lets say you get an email from a bank you deal with. Instead of clicking a suspicious link in the email pick up the phone and call them with the number you have on your statement not the number the Phishing email wants you to call.
- Hyperlinks – A link may not be what you think it is. Hovering over a link shows you the actual URL where you will be directed upon clicking on it. It could be completely different or it could be a popular website with a misspelling, so look carefully. If instead you want to visit the website, by typing it in yourself not the link they have in the email.
- Too Good To Be True email – If you get an email and seems to good to be true, then trust your instincts.
- Sense of Urgency to get you to act quickly – For example, a bank will not ask for personal information via email or suspend your account if you do not update your personal details within a certain period of time. Ignore these email requests or call them directly if you want to be sure.
- Attachments – If you see an attachment in an email you weren’t expecting or one that doesn’t make sense or look right, do not open it!
How can you avoid a Phishing Attack?
- Stay educated and informed. Take your Phishing IQ test by clicking here. This will test your ability to make the right choice and is a fun way to see how well you can identify these emails.
- Use spam filters to block these unwanted emails. If they still get thru raise the filter sensitivity setting.
- Change the browser settings to prevent fraudulent websites from opening. Browsers keep a list of fake websites and when you try to access the website, the address is blocked or an alert message is shown.
- Change your passwords on a regular basis, and never use the same password for multiple accounts.
- If there is a link in an email, hover over the URL first. Secure websites like banking and other eCommerce sites begin with “https”. Eventually all sites will be required to have this.
- Changes your browsing habits. If verification is required, always contact the company personally before entering any details online.
If you have any questions on email phishing please call us at (732) 702-5400. Pro-Tech can assist you with optimizing the security your computer(s) and network. Please visit our website homepage for a list of other IT services we offer.