Phishing Scams

Tips for avoiding Phishing Scams

Phishing appears to be a highly technical word which may perplex anyone unacquainted with technological terms. Nevertheless, quite simply defined to be a fraudulent attempt of purporting an authentic company with whom the targeted individual is accustomed to. Customarily phishing attacks take place over electronic communication in particular emails, social media accounts and counterfeit websites.


The communication gives the appearance of outlining a matter which holds relevance in targeted individual’s life. A broad spectrum of deceitful tactics are deployed by those involved in the phishing scam operations, which range from forged bank emails asking the users to reset passwords for compromised accounts, to messages on social media accounts appearing to be from distressed relatives requesting money. The motive behind all phishing attacks is monetary benefits.


Exclusively, for TechDecoded readers we present our top tips for safeguarding your personal data and most meaningfully your money.


1. Don’t open or respond to emails from unknown sources


Avoid opening emails from unknown and untrusted .sources. By accident, if you do open an email from an unreliable source, before clicking on any given URL link read, review, analyse and assess the content thoroughly to ensure the authenticity of the source. In some cases, phishing scammers send emails masquerading as friends, family or work colleagues of the victim to ruse them into downloading an attachment. Never download attachments without verifying the credibility of an email.


When an email appears to be from your bank, there are signs by which a fraudulent email can be recognised compared to a genuine email. Firstly, check the email address, usually email addresses from unwarranted sources reveal that the source is unauthentic. A simple google search can distinguish genuine bank email addresses. Alternatively, contact the bank directly via telephone or in person asking about the email. Never click any given URL link and by no means give personal data without verifying from your bank. Moreover, know the pin and password policy of your bank, almost all banks consistently convey the message that you will not receive a request from them for your pin and passwords in official correspondence. Remember it’s better to be safe than sorry.


2. Don’t cooperate with messages on social media requesting money


Social media has become an ideal marketplace for phishing scammers to find gullible victims, who will trade their hard earned money for a scam. Over the years, there have been several phishing attacks, many of which keep resurfacing because of the rate at which victims are adhering to the requests of cyber criminals. Many people, have downloaded malicious Trojans on to their computers through clicking spam links on Twitter or Facebook for instance there have been targeted posts for those wanting to lose weight, ineffectively enticing the victim through a personal incentive. Assuredly, clicking on these links leads to the download of malicious content on to personal devices or the request to enter personal data on a forged website.


Aside from incentive based phishing attacks, there has been a surge in phishing attacks targeting an individual emotionally. Emotional phishing attacks are instigated through private inbox messages where the criminals masquerade as relatives, friends, colleagues and even acquaintances. The goal in the targeted campaign is to lure the victim in handing over cash by pretending to raise a distress alarm in order to obtain cash immediately. Never give any personal details to an opportunist no matter how genuine their plea for help may appear. Contact the person who has been potentially impersonated through ringing them or contact their family to find out the integrity of the message received. Confirm by different means before transferring money to any bank account or giving out credit/debit card details.


3. Don’t be fooled by overgenerous advertising


Advertisement’s offering unbelievable incentives are designed to rapidly attract consumers’ attention triggering the reward system within the brain, persuading users to click the advertisement link without a second thought. Normally, the advertisements are carefully crafted with a meticulous phishing scam planned to obtain confidential data. Avoid clicking links to any advertisement without verifying the genuineness of the advertised content. Moreover, if there is an advertisement of interest visit the retailer’s website by manually entering their URL.