As our financial lives move more and more online, the threat of digital fraud grows greater and more cunning. An increasing number of people are falling victim to scams, which have been nicknamed phishing. It’s a technique which tricks the user to reveal confidential information such as passwords and pass codes. Phishers, or better known as hackers, use a wide range of tactics but there are some steps you can take to prevent becoming a victim.
1. Learn to spot suspected phishing emails
There are some common things that highlight a phishing email:-
- They replicate the image of a real company
- Often copying the name of a company or an actual individual within that company
- Include sites that are visually similar to a real business where bad grammar is often the key to spot this approach
- Promote gifts or ‘too good to be true’ offers or they might threaten closure of your account if you don’t act
2. If in doubt call your bank/provider directly
Your bank, building society or any financial institution will never ask you to send your passwords or personal information by e-mail. Never respond to these emails, and if you have even the slightest doubt, call your bank directly for clarification.
3. Don’t follow clicks or hyperlinks within the email, or open attachments
Do not click on any attachments or hyperlinks listed in the email, as it might direct you to a fraudulent website or corrupt your computer. Instead, re-type the web address directly into your browser.
4. Protect your computer
Common sense is crucial in keeping your computer protected and so is good antivirus software to block these types of attack. You should always have the most recent update on your operating system and web browsers as these are regularly updated to protect users.
5. Enter Your Sensitive Data in Secure Websites Only
In order for a site to be ‘safe’, it must begin with ‘https://’ and your browser should show an icon of a closed lock.
6. Check Your Accounts Daily
A good habit to get into when it comes to financial planning is checking your bank accounts daily. This discipline will flag up anything which looks suspect so that you can act to stop it quickly.
7. Phishing isn’t limited to online banking
The majority of phishing attacks are against banks and building societies. But more and more scams are trying to steal personal data from sites such as Amazon, Apple, eBay and Facebook.
8. The biggest sign
In general, phishing emails feature some grammatical or translation errors. This is often the first way of spotting them. But that’s not to say that as the cunning of the phishers develops, so will their grasp on English.
9. If in doubt, delete it
The simplest way to prevent phishing is to consistently reject any email that asks you to give confidential information. Some people blanket delete any emails which come from unknown senders.
While following these steps can help keep your digital world safer, the scams are always evolving so it pays to keep updated and vigilant at all times.