Phishing is a fraudulent online method of coaxing sensitive information such as; usernames, passwords, credit card details, medical history, etc. through the use of emails, phone or text.
These emails are designed to seem legitimate and are sent by scammers posing as real people or companies that that person does business with.
In actual fact, they are from attackers looking to infiltrate your system or attain a payment or your credentials. It could include a prompt in the form of a link to a website or a simple request of payment details.
TIPS TO AVOID SCAMS:
1. If the email is from a sender you don’t recognise – DO NOT OPEN IT.
2. If the email is from a sender you DO recognise, but the subject line and message are regarding an issue unknown to you or asking for a payment, always call the person to CONFIRM the details.
3. Double check the sender’s email address – often scammers will misspell or add numbers to a familiar email to make it believable. E.g. if the real email is ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’, the scammer might use ‘email@example.com’
4. If the email isn’t addressed to anyone – be suspicious. If payments are being requested, it should at least greet your personally (Hi John). If the email goes right into requesting funds without any niceties or conversation topics familiar to you and that person, it could be a sign of phishing.
5. Some blackmail hackers will use scare tactics to get you to make a payment. This could be threats such as; ‘We will release your search history to your colleagues’ or ‘We will delete your database’, etc. followed by, ‘unless you make a payment to this account’. Don’t believe it and make your IT department aware.
6. Change your password regularly [See our post about how to create a secure password].