There are different forms of scams. Scams have different ways of executing them. What they all have in common is that they are working like traps by exploiting their victims’ trust. Scammers are destructive. Some people died through suicide because of these malicious actions. They are clever, but they are using their talents by taking other people’s hard-earned money.

Scams are problems not just for common individuals, but also to legitimate businesses who are trying to do their job well. There are various kinds of online scams, but the most popular and prevalent is the phishing scam.

Phishing scams are getting stronger, more intelligent, and tougher as time goes. Because of the skills’ advancement of these fraudsters, even techie people find it hard to deal with them. For this reason, you must know the ways how to avoid them in the first place to keep yourself from getting into one of their traps.

How Does Phishing Scam Work?

If you are not careful enough, you might fall into one of the traps of phishing scammers. A phishing scammer pretends to be working with a legitimate company. They commonly send messages through emails, social media, and phone calls and messages. They will lure you to click the link inside the email which will direct you to malware or a clone site of a legitimate company.

They usually say that your information in their database has wiped out so you need to enter your information again or that they are conducting a survey. Sometimes, scammers will say that you have received a huge amount of money in your PayPal account, and you need to validate it by typing your information on the “PayPal” link that they have provided.

Phishing scams also appear as pop-ups and spams. The information that they usually ask are your personal information, bank account, social security number, credit card numbers, and password.

Types of Phishing Scams

  • Pharming

Pharming is the most popular type of phishing scam. The scammer will send you a message with a link to malicious software or website. The malware will always direct you to the fake website even if you type the website’s legitimate web address.

  • Whaling or Spearing

This type of scam targets businesses to get the business’s sensitive information or data. Commonly, it happens with the help of an accomplice working in the business.

Ways to Protect Yourself or Business From Phishing Attacks

  • Identify Them

Phishing scammers often mask themselves as a person working for a bank or a certain legitimate organization. They commonly send an email with generic greetings, grammatically incorrect copies, and the like. The website where they will direct you has a different web address from the legitimate one.

Just remember that you should be aware of the real web address of the legitimate websites where you commonly input your personal information. Sometimes your computer slows down, and new unknown icons will appear on your computer because of malware infection. There are instances when skilled phishing scammers will use your contacts making it seem like the email came from this contact just to earn your trust.

  • Strengthen the Security of Your Organization

Educate your employees about phishing scams. Be careful and strict on who to hire in your organization. Use advanced security tools that will filter spams and viruses. Keep your computers and passwords updated. Secure the company’s information by encrypting it.

  • Check the Website Information

Check the web address bar. See to it that it is the real website’s web address. Check if the site’s security certificate is present. The web address link should usually start with https://. There should also be a closed lock icon. Some antivirus software guard your browsing activity by giving you a warning for accessing a malicious website. If this happens, don’t risk going to that website.

  • Call the Right One

Banks and other financial organizations will never ask you to type your personal information directly through email. If in case somebody sends you an email indicating that you need to change your information in your bank, make a call to your bank to clarify it.

  • Don’t Directly Click Links on Your Email

Go to a website by typing the web address in the address bar or by using a bookmark if you want to go to a website faster.

  • Secure Your Computer

Some frauds use malware to steal information. Download a reliable antivirus, and use a firewall. Install an anti-phishing toolbar in your browser, and make your browsers are updated. Adjust your browser settings, and block pop-up ads.

  • Be Informed

Phishing scams are constantly evolving. As the new technology grows, scammers’ skills grow as well. Combat their ploys by keeping yourself updated and informed about the most current type of phishing technique.

  • Be Skeptical

If somebody sends you an email, saying that they sent you a particular amount of money, ask yourself if you made any transaction with this person before. Why is he giving away his money as easy as that?

Remember that you don’t have to be nice to scammers. You have to be assertive in dealing with them. Scammers are pushy people, and they will never stop until they get you into their trap.

  • Be Careful When Downloading Files

Don’t download files from an unknown source because it may contain malware and Trojans that will destroy your computer and hack into your information.

  • Regularly Change Your Password

Change your password periodically. Use passwords that are not easy to guess. Do not use your birthday or simple number combinations like 1111.

  • Regularly Check Your Statement

Read your credit card’s monthly statement and bank account details. Look for suspicious transactions to see if somebody is already taking your money without you knowing. If in case there is a questionable transaction that has happened. Talk to the banker right away.

  • Never Share Your Personal Information

Don’t share your personal information even with your closes relatives. Treat your personal information as treasure.

If you’re a victim of scam, you should inform other people of what happened. If you have a blog, write your experience so other people will be informed. There are some other ways to protect yourself from scams. However, there’s no definite way to stop the scammers as long as people are falling for it. For this reason, you should always be critical with every transaction and message you receive.

References:

http://www.phishing.org/10-ways-to-avoid-phishing-scams

https://www.wired.com/2017/03/phishing-scams-fool-even-tech-nerds-heres-avoid/

http://www.identitytheftkiller.com/prevent-phishing-scams.php

https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/types-of-scams/attempts-to-gain-your-personal-information/phishing

http://www.pandasecurity.com/mediacenter/security/10-tips-prevent-phishing-attacks/

https://digitalguardian.com/blog/phishing-attack-prevention-how-identify-avoid-phishing-scams