It’s the end of the month, and your cash reserves are running low. All you need is some money to keep you going till your next salary. During this stressful period, you receive an email or a text message that reads, “Get Instant Loan In 10 Minutes At Just 1% Interest”. You click on it because it looks ‘legitimate’ and because you need money. The corresponding link asks you to fill out your personal/bank details, and you end up doing that. Nothing happens for a few days, and then one day, you get a message that your bank balance has been wiped out!
The above example is a classic case of a Phishing scam, and millions of people around the world have fallen victim to this scam in the past few years. Phishing attacks can be considered cyberattacks from fraudsters where legitimate-looking messages are sent to people to steal their sensitive information. Cybercriminals launch a multitude of these attacks every day, and most of them end up being profitable to them.
Identifying A Phishing Attack
Cybercriminals have grown smart over the years, so it has become quite difficult for a novice to identify a phishing attack. Nowadays, scammers send messages or emails that look exactly like your trusted source or company. If you receive such an email, start by checking whether the greeting is generic or personalized. Fraudulent messages tend to have a generic greeting as they are sent randomly.
Generally, a scammer concocts a short story in order to get you to click on a link or open an
attachment. You should be alarmed if a text or mail says –
You have won a lottery
Your credentials need to be changed
You must confirm your password or personal information
There is suspicious activity or log-in attempt
Update your payment details, etc.
How To Avoid This Scam?
1. Think twice before you click: Even though a communication looks trustworthy, think before you proceed. Contact the concerned company or source if required to verify the authenticity of that message.
2. Install An Antivirus Software: Such software can be your first line of defence against a phishing scam as it detects malicious sites and sends you a warning in case you are visiting that site.
3. Use multi-factor authentication: This type of authentication requires two or more credentials for extra security, making it difficult for the spammers to log in to your account.
4. Avoid Entertaining Uninitiated Communication: If you have not started the conversation, then do not share your personal information or passwords with the sender in any case.
5. Cross-Check Your Accounts: Keep track of the activity on your account and check your bank statements regularly to identify a scam, if any.
Protecting yourself from a phishing scam is possible; all you need to be is vigilant and follow the guidelines mentioned above to enjoy a productive and stress-free time on the internet.