SNAP! You’ve just been reeled in… by a phishing scam. (Don’t feel too bad… lots of smart people fall for the same thing all of the time.) Why?
Phishing scammers — people attempting to harvest your valuable, private information (like passwords or credit card information) by posing as trustworthy organizations or businesses — are all over the Internet. Everyone with an email account has probably seen a phishing email, which often looks uncannily like something from your bank, company, etc. Common to all of them is an inciting message — something requires your action NOW, or there will be problems.
The good news is that, although some phishing scams create pretty convincing email layouts, there are usually clues that you can find that all is not right with their request. We recently ran across a blog post on CNET that discusses ways to tell if an email is part of a phishing scam. It’s got some really good tips in it to help you avoid falling victim to these scams. Take a look at it here:
One of the keys to keeping your identity safe online is to never give up your information easily. In the fast-paced rhythm of today’s world, is easy to rush from one task to the next without much thought. Fraudsters running phishing scams rely on that — distracted users are easy targets.
Phishing relies on people’s predilection toward following rules, and being helpful and cooperative. Online hustlers are skilled social engineers, manipulating people to turn their natural tendencies and good intentions into profit. So, when responding to a “your data has been stolen” or “click here for a prize” email, remember to slow down and ask yourself one question – why do they need it? Legitimate outfits won’t ask you for information they already have, so any such request is a dead giveaway that something isn’t right.
Be careful if an email offers an easy fix to your information being compromised. If a legitimate organization had their customer database compromised, they will be very careful about reestablishing contact with customers. They will also go out of their way to assure you that they are who they say they are, and will take care to protect your information — and definitely will not deploy a one-click solution to this problem.
For more on phishing and online scams, check out some of our recent blog posts: