Tuesday 03 December, 2013
Phishing scams are one of the most common and lucrative types of online fraud. The most common type of phishing is when you receive an email that you think is from a friend or a company you do business with. The email asks for personal information such as a password, username or credit card information. Once you send this information or click on the link, your email is infected with malware.
It’s easy to fall for phishing scams because they look like they’re from a trusted source, and people fall for them every day. But here are some things you can do to avoid phishing scams and keep your email inbox safe.
Never Click Links
If you get a message from your bank or PayPal with a link in it, don’t click the link. Instead, delete the message, log out of your email, and log in to the actual site of the bank or other service. You can then take whatever action needs to be taken directly. Links often lead to scam sites or infect your email directly.
Delete and Empty Your Trash
Whenever you get a message that appears to be fraudulent, delete it and empty your email trash immediately. The message can’t cause you any harm from inside your trash, but this prevents you from accidentally reopening the message at a later time.
Stay up to Date
Make sure that your antivirus software is always kept up to date. In case you accidentally fall for a phishing scam, your computer will be protected against the damage it can do.
If you want to send someone personal information, do so only by phone or on a secure website. Never send it to anyone from your email, even if you’re pretty sure you’re talking to the real person.
Don’t Get Scared
Phishing scams often say things like your account is going to be closed or the bank is going to foreclose on your house. This puts you into a panicked state which makes you more likely to fall for the scam. Don’t get nervous about what you read in emails. Read your emails carefully and consider why you’d be getting this warning. If you need to contact the person, do so by phone or through their secure site.
Never download anything from emails or suspicious websites. This is a common type of phishing scam. Once you download the file, the hacker has access to your computer. When you need to download something (like a bank statement), make sure it’s from the actual source (your bank’s website).
Check your bank statements, credit card statements and other financial accounts regularly and look for any suspicious activity. If you see anything suspicious, report it immediately.
Phishing scams take people in every day, but if you follow the above steps, you can protect your personal information from hackers.