What is a Phishing Scam by TotesNeworthy
Phishing scams are one of the most successful and most dangerous forms of scams. They affect hundreds of millions of people around the globe each year. It is paramount to be able to identify them to keep yourself and your private information safe. This article contains all you need to know, and explains everything you need to know to keep yourself protected:
What are they?
A phishing scam is an attempt to obtain private information, usernames, emails, phone numbers, passwords, or credit card details by disguising itself as a friend, family member, or colleague. These scams are commonly, but wrongly, also called fishing scams. The reason being is the scammer is fishing for information from you. Hence the confusion about the names.
How do they work?
The most common way is through email. The scammer will send a real looking email pretending to be someone you know and push you towards providing fake info. This is typically done by sending you to a fake website that will ask for your login details. You will attempt to log in, only to find it doesn’t work. And now, the scammers have your username and passwords. It is common practice for large companies to have their I.T department send fake phishing emails to their employees to try and catch them out. They will send an email such as “Your flight has been canceled you need to re-book” these emails will look real at first, but once opened, will just read, “You need to speak to I.T – this was a phishing email.” Companies realize just how destructive a phishing email can be for them and their employees, you should understand this too.
What to look out for?
The best way to spot a phishing email is the content. If an email asks you to confirm some of your personal information, be it directly through mail or a linked site, don’t do it. It is a scam. If the actual address seems off to you, if it looks unprofessional or unofficial, it is likely a scam. For example, would American Airlines send you an email informing you your flight is canceled from a gmail.com email address? No, it wouldn’t.
The quality of the text in an email can be a significant indicator. Does it have bad grammar, poor spelling, incorrect punctuation, and just look overall messy? Then it is probably coming from someone, from who knows where, who doesn’t speak English. Ignore emails that seem poorly written; they are usually bad news.
Lastly, don’t click links that are sent to you. It could be either a hyperlink to a dangerous URL or be a download for a virus. Never open an attachment from someone you don’t 100% trust.
Newest Phishing Scams of 2020
The most common phishing scams of 2020 are those that you need to keep an eye out for the most, as you are more likely to bump into them. There are three main ones that you must be aware of.
FAKE EMAIL’S FROM AIRLINES: How fake emails from airlines work were mentioned above, but it will be explained in more detail here. These emails will insist that you need to change your flights, cancel them, or book new ones. They will send you to a fake login page, which will ask you for your username, password, and potentially directly ask you to confirm your bank account details. Never do this. If you get one of these emails, call the airline to confirm if they are true or not.