Although it sounds like a favorite pastime, ‘phishing’ is an activity much more sinister. Read more to learn how to prevent your personal information from being at risk.
What is phishing?
Merriam-Webster defines phishing as, “the practice of tricking Internet users into revealing personal or confidential information which can then be used illicitly.” Referred to as a ‘one-two punch,’ phishing most often uses email or text messaging to then fool users into entering their information on scam websites made to look legitimate.
How do I prevent it?
To avoid becoming a victim of phishing, stay mindful of some red flags signaling the message is fraudulent.
When you initially receive an email in your inbox, pay attention to the sender’s address as well as any other users the message was sent to. If you recognize none of the recipients nor the sender, chances are it is illegitimate.
Another pro tip is to pay attention to hyperlinks and attachments in the body of the email. Remember, do not click on anything if you have even the slightest doubt of the message’s legitimacy. Not only could this download damaging software on your device, but it is also how cybercriminals lure users to share login credentials and other information. Some links may even be disguised as a real website so stay alert.
Lastly, be wary of offers that seem too good to be true. Chances are you have received a message at some point telling you you’re the winner of a competition you never entered. Disregard emails like this immediately and mark them as spam.
I think I’ve been phished. Now what?
If you or a family member has fallen victim to a phishing scheme, disconnect the affected device from Wi-fi immediately, and change your passwords to prevent criminals from further access. You may also file a phishing report with the Federal Trade Commission.
Phishing isn’t the only scam that can put your personal information at risk. Learn more about how to protect your identity in this article.
Protect your personal and financial information by knowing what to look for from scammers. Be cautious and only give out information when you are certain it is going to a trusted source.