Have you heard of phishing scams? You probably have since, at this point, they’ve been around for quite some time. Just in case, though, these are scams through which scammers attempt to get sensitive personal information from you, and, if successful, use that information to do you harm. And, while countless warnings have been issued about these scams, they are, sadly, still alive and well, which is why it’s so very important to fully understand what they are, how they work, and how to protect yourself.
Most phishing happens via email. Typically, the person (potential victim) is sent an email that sounds quite legitimate but directs the potential victim to a falsified website where he or she will be asked to provide personal information, such as a credit card number, a social security number, or a private password. These emails may seem to come from one’s bank, the IRS, one’s credit card company, or a social media account, but, in reality, they come from harmful sources that will use this information to their own benefit and to the victim’s detriment.
Some commonly run phishing scams include:
· -Emails promising money or a refund of some sort…if you fill out a form to redeem it
· -Emails warning you that your credit card funds have been used by an outside source and you can reclaim them by visiting a website and “verifying” your information
· -Emails promising lottery winnings or inheritances if you just provide your personal information
-If you encounter a phishing scam or even THINK that you might have, remember these “golden rules” that will keep you safe from phishing:
· -Never click links or open attachments unless you know FOR SURE who the sender is
· -Immediately report any phishing emails to the appropriate source
· -Be wary of emails that do not include your actual name
· -Be wary of “professional” emails full of grammar and spelling errors
· -Falsified web addresses/ web addresses that LOOK legitimate except for some small difference
By knowing what to look for and being on your guard, you can keep phishing from happening to you! Spread the word to others, too, so that your friends and family will be protected.