Online phishing is the latest type of online identification fraud, designed to get you to inadvertently reveal your important passwords and confidential financial information. These phishing scams usually reach you via email as it’s a medium that can allow for the targeting of many people at once.
Phishing is no laughing matter so keep reading to find out how you can protect yourself.
How Does Email Phishing Work?
An official looking email is drafted by a third party, usually posing as a well known company or service provider. Popular examples are banks as well as companies that provide streaming services. Some fraudsters even try to pass themselves off as HMRC to trick you into handing over very sensitive information.
A recipient will receive an email, open it and be greeted with a message. The message contained within will usually prompt you to login to the account you hold with the real company – the trick being that the link within the email will actually take you to a third party site where once you enter your details, they will be collated by a third party.
If done properly, you will never even know you’ve been the victim of a phishing scam before it’s too late.
How Can I Identify These Emails?
One little trick we like to employ is using our mouse pointers to hover over an email that has just arrived in our inbox. After a few seconds, the email senders address will be displayed in a small box without you having to open the email.
You now need to look very carefully at the address to see whether it looks suspicious or not. The quality of these addresses is usually very poor and will have no bearing on the company that they claim to have been sent from. If you recognise the address or it looks legitimate, proceed with caution and open the email.
Do not click on any link contained within but instead read all of the information you have been presented with. Red flags include poor choice of language, spelling mistakes and grammatical inaccuracies. If you’re in doubt or the email content looks suspicious, close it immediately.
Can I Report These Emails?
Yes, you can. Your email provide will have an option somewhere within their user interface which allows you to report the email as a phishing scam where it will be deleted from your inbox and passed along for further inspection.
What Else Can I Do to protect Myself from Phishing Scams?
Start by being as vigilant as possible, the more precautions you take, the less likely you are to fall victim. You should also spend some time to read up on how to spot a phishing email. Services that provide a free email account are usually pretty good in sending suspicious emails straight into a junk folder but this software is not fool proof. The onus is on you to actively protect your sensitive information when browsing the web.
Other options available to you include the use of mail cleaning software which will be able to assist in the detection process.