Phishing refers to fraudulent means of getting your hands on someone else’s personal or financial information by pretending to be someone else that you are actually not. Phishing scammers steals personal information like name, address, email address, login details and financial information like account numbers, credit card numbers, PIN codes and other relevant things. The ultimate goal of them is to steal victim’s identity or money.
To increase the probability of their scam success, scammers send out millions of emails at once. In order to look like a legitimate company and email, they use actual logos, names and other identifications of real companies which are easily available to anyone. Modern email clients like Yahoo and Gmail are quite smart and they can detect spam emails but sometimes scammers cheat them too.
When users get those emails, usually they cannot differentiate between a legitimate and fake email depending on the quality of contents used by scammers. These emails ask for “verifications” to make your account safer and they ask for your name, PIN code, account numbers etc. Scammers can use the name of real companies, names of real employees, matching URLs and “urgent” messages to lure you into their scam.
How to Protect Yourself from Phishing?
Of course Phishing seems a highly sophisticated cyber crime where 90% of the users cannot possibly tell whether it is a fake email or not but there are still some effective ways to protect yourself from being a victim of this scam. First of all, financial institutions do not ask for such information to “verify” things and they do not ask for it over the email.
Following are some techniques you can use to protect yourself from Phishing.
When someone sends you an email about verification process, asking for information and pretending to be your bank, simply pick up the phone and call your bank. Sometimes scammers provide number in their email so do not use those numbers but cal on number you already have on you. Meanwhile, do not ever reply to those emails in any case, even do not ask for further explanation because scammers have sent millions of emails and they do not know whether this is an active email address or not. Once you reply back, they get confirmation that this account is in use.
Scammers provide links in the email so you can click there and move to the website. Obviously those links do not navigate you to the real website but they also set up fake websites that look exactly similar to the real ones. This way they can cheat you into providing your information to them. In order to reduce the chances of being cheated, always type the URL yourself and do not use the links provided in the email.
Make sure you have installed security apps and software on all of your devices. Some of the security tools come with the whole package of antivirus, antispyware and anti-phishing. Especially on devices where you do financial transactions, you should installed security suites. Make sure the web browser you are using is updated and always use well reputed browser like Firefox or Chrome.
Always read your bank/card statements every month and make sure all the transaction shown there are legitimate. Also check your contact information like phone number, email address and other information written on the statement. Based on where you live, there are anti Phishing authorities. If you are suspected of someone pretending to be someone else, report them immediately to the authorities for further investigation.