Have you ever been a victim of online phishing scams? If not, you’re extremely lucky. In this extremely advanced digital age, the rate of scammers and scams is sky high! It’s so important for each and everyone to educate themselves on how to avoid being scammed, and how to get out of one ASAP!
The most common of internet scams to date is phishing. For those of you who haven’t even heard of the term, this is for you. Have you ever received any weird emails or texts from unknown sources? Professional phishers are completely well-versed when it comes to providing material that can easily hook you into clicking on dangerous links.
These phishing techniques often involve stealing your data, or sensitive information. You may assume that it doesn’t make a difference but think again! The thing is, most of us humans have loads of accounts, be it banking, social or official. But, the majority of us are bound to log on to each account using one email and may use a similar password.
If ever caught in the middle of a phishing attempt, the scammers can easily take hold of that simple data and use it to log into your bank accounts. These attempts come in various forms. Sometimes it could come in the form of an email, posing to be a part of an organization that you’re a member of. They could ask you to transfer cash for various reasons and you’ll never know the difference.
So, to avoid being hooked in, below you’ll find some tips on how to shield yourself from phishing scams.
How To Avoid Phishing Scams
There are always steps to avoid even the biggest scams online. It mainly requires you to be very vigilant when taking active precautions. The tips are as follows:
Security Apps Or Software
Believe it or not, but not all security apps are terrible. If you look around for the best software to protect you from malicious websites or links, it can do you a great favor in the long run. You can also get the cheapest VPN for you with premium features, if you’re looking for something affordable and great. Along with getting the best software, you need to keep updating the existing versions, whether the app itself or even your device. These will automatically shield you from incoming threats.
Yes, downloading the best anti-virus/malware/or VPN apps for your device can do a great deal of good for you, but there are ways that you can make it extremely difficult for phishers or hackers to take control of your accounts or steal your data. Always make sure that every account of yours is not only password-protected, but has to incorporate a password that’s nothing similar or related to your life. Choosing a password that’s difficult or strong can make it difficult to hack into your accounts.
On the other hand, besides a password, make sure you take extra security measures by double-authentication factors. This involves sending a text or code to your mobile number or email every time someone or you (hopefully) tries to log in or already logged into your accounts.
Switch Up The Codes
Related to passwords, never keep one password for all accounts. I know it gets really difficult to remember a bucket full of passwords, but you know you could just write all of them down in a diary and not a digital one.
Back It All Up
The best way to make sure all your data is stored in one place without anyone stealing it or even if it gets stolen, is to always have a back-up. Backing up your data is extremely vital. Always have it stored on the cloud or a hard-drive for future use.
Phishing Red Flags
I don’t expect you to be a scammer detector overnight, but there are ways for you to easily make out certain flaws in scams. Always look for certain red flags that will let your instincts take control of you. Look for:
- Authentic company or website names, look them up immediately or contact a known source inquiring about it.
- You have no association with the email you’ve received. Sometimes you’ll be made to believe that you’re a part of something you never even signed up for. For instance, scammers will make you believe that you’re an active subscriber to a newsletter for exercise tips. They’ll ask you to provide additional information regarding your subscription or ask for funds to run the given account. Make sure you double-check if you’re a part of it.
- If you’ve noticed, banks or professional workplaces never ever ask for passwords or bank account details via text or email. If someone asks you to send them all your personal information like passwords, that my friends, is a huge red flag!
- An authentic email source from a renowned company is always grammatically or literary correct. Look for small flaws like punctuation or spelling errors.
How To Avoid Being Bait
Phishing attacks always come in different forms. Sometimes it’s extremely difficult to distinguish between actual sources and fake ones. But, since you’ve gone through some ways to prevent future phishing attacks, here’s a little know-how on how to maneuver around a phishing scam that’s already in your DMs. You have to:
- Most scams usually have an agenda or a number provided along with the phishy looking links. If they provide a cause, a company name or a website, always and I mean ALWAYS look up the source and contact the company before clicking on anything.
- Call up the source. Let them know that you received a text/email and ask whether it was really them. Only then will you be able to tell a scam from the actual thing. Compare the number or email you received with the details from the authentic website or company.
- Inform them that you’ve received so and so email and ask whether it was authentic or not. The real company or website would never risk scandalizing their own company and would help out immediately.
- Additionally, you can ask the person who emailed you to skype or face-time! Scammers would never agree to it!
It doesn’t really take a course for you to be pro at making out differences between a scam and the real deal. Following or adding these simple steps into your daily digital lives can take you a long way. But, if ever caught on a phishing hook, there are additional steps to take precautions, some of which include reporting the scam to ftc.gov/complaint or forward the contaminated email or message to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.