The Rise of Phishing Scams- What Can You Do to Protect Yourself?

Sal

Sal Patel · 30th March 2021·Case Studies

The Rise of Phishing Scams- What Can You Do to Protect Yourself?

Nobody wants to fall prey to phishing scams. There is a very good reason why scams like this keep on happening though, and the main reason is because cybercriminals are able to make a huge profit from them. This is even the case if a very small amount of people fall for their tactics. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to try and protect yourself.

What’s a Phishing Attack?

In general, phishing scams are cyberattacks. Criminals use them to try and get their users to perform a specific type of action. Emails like this are often sent out to thousands of people at any one time, with the ultimate goal of tricking someone who is unsuspecting into falling for their scam. A popular scam would be the Nigerian Prince scam. Someone who is claiming to be the prince, claims that you need to take his money so that it can be kept safe. Other scams include trying to convince you that you have had a distant family member pass away, and that you are entitled to their inheritance. You just need to enter your bank details to claim it.

Modern Day Phishing Scams

Phishing has come a long way since the Nigerian Prince scam came onto the scene. New phishing scams are emerging by the day and more and more businesses are being targeted. Some of them use emails or even websites, but now, phone calls and texts are being utilised as well. Attacks tend to use these methods with the end goal of getting the user to give them personal information or even account information. The cybercrime industry is also reaching unprecedented levels. The damages caused by cybercrime are expected to reach $6 trillion, with phishing playing a huge role.

Google and Facebook’s losses alone have totalled over $100 million. Creland Bank in Belgium have also given $75 million to cybercriminals. These all result from phishing attacks. If you want to ensure that you do not fall prey to these scams, then here are a few things that you can do.

phishing-scams

Keep Informed

New phishing scams are being developed all of the time. If you do not stay on top of these techniques, then you may end up falling prey to one. Find out about the sender as early as possible so you do not end up entering any personal details. Making sure that your connection is private is also important.

Think before you Click

It’s perfectly fine for you to click on links when you are accessing trusted sites. If you find that you are being sent links through random emails or if you are being sent them through instant messaging, then this may not be a smart move. If you want to protect yourself then you need to try and hover over the link. Does the link lead where it’s supposed to? Phishing emails may look like they are from legitimate companies and when you click on the link, you may find that it looks like it’s from the genuine site. The email may ask you to fill out information too, but most of the time, the email will not refer to you by name. They will most likely start out with “dear customer”.

Install an Anti-Phishing Option on your Toolbar

A lot of internet browsers can easily be customised, and they run a check on the site that you want to visit. If you stumble across a site that is malicious then the toolbar will let you know. This is just another layer of protection you can give yourself, and most of the time, it’s completely free too.

Verify the Security

It’s perfectly natural for you to be wary about giving your sensitive information away online. As long as you are using a secure website, you should never have any troubles. If you want to make sure that you are not falling for a phishing scam, then it would be wise for you to try and check the site certificate. Never download a file from a suspicious site and also make sure that you never download files from emails that you deem to be suspicious either. Even search engines may show links which can take you to phishing sites. It may be that a low-cost product is being advertised, and if you make a purchase then the site will store your credit card details.

Check your Bank

If you do not pay attention to your online bank account then you may never know if it is being used by someone. Check in on each of your accounts on a very regular basis. You also need to make sure that you get in the habit of changing all of your passwords on a regular basis. If you want to stop yourself from being a victim here, then it’s helpful for you to try and check your accounts and get monthly statements delivered too.

Update your Browser

Security patches tend to be released for various browsers. If you want to protect yourself then you have to make sure that you update yours. Hackers are always looking for loopholes that they can exploit and it’s a constant battle for internet browsers to keep their platform secure. If you ignore messages about updating your browser then make sure that you stop, take a minute and update it. You’ll end up getting way more protection as a result, and you may find that your entire browsing experience is much more secure.

Take Advantage of Firewalls

High-quality firewalls tend to act as a buffer between your computer and any outside intruders. Ideally, you have to make sure that you use two types. You need to use a desktop firewall and then an additional network firewall. The first is a form of software, with the other being hardware. When you combine them, you can drastically reduce the chances of someone accessing your details and you can also receive warnings when you have potentially been exposed. Little things like this could save you thousands in the long run.