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Learn Computer Security: How to Avoid Phishing Scams

 

How To Take Necessary Steps To Avoid Online Traps

Phishing scams are one of the most common tactics to breach personal computer security. Practice proper cybersecurity by learning how to avoid phishing.

Cybersecurity is among the biggest concerns for government agencies, businesses, and regular people. A day rarely goes by where we don't hear about a security breach, a settlement in a security breach, or someone losing money in an online scam.

Among the most common online scams is phishing. It's estimated that phishing costs businesses half a billion dollars every year. That's not a typo. That's a crisis. You can bet that the cost is much more than that. You need to know what computer security measures you need to take to prevent a phishing scam from infiltrating your networks at home and work.

Read on to learn what a phishing scam is and how you can keep your networks and devices safe.

 

What is Phishing?

Phishing refers to fishermen who cast huge nets trying to catch fish. Phishing happens similarly. One email is sent out to a large number of people hoping that someone will bite. These messages range in content. Some may look like their emails from Amazon or PayPal stating that your account was compromised. Your next step is to click on the link to change your password. Others are emails claiming to be from the IRS, telling you that you'll be arrested unless you pay a certain amount of money. For the record, the IRS never calls or emails you. They always mail letters.

One other example is an email that has one of your passwords in the subject heading. If you open the email, the content will say that they hacked your computer and have footage of you watching porn. The footage will be published unless you pay them in Bitcoin.

The scammers probably bought your information on the black market. Your information was likely hacked from another site and then sold to hackers who submitted the highest bid. There are countless other ways that hackers try to exploit your fears and send emails, hoping that you'll pay.

 

Phishing Websites

Phishing doesn't just happen over email. You have to be vigilant when you're surfing the web. Some fake websites have a similar look to legitimate sites that are far from it. These sites are sneaky because they can be sites created by typosquatters. These are people who buy domain names of misspelled versions of legitimate websites.

These typos can direct people to legitimate-looking sites that will try to fool you into giving information like your credit card info. Other phishing tactics include URL hijacking and redirects to phishing sites. This can be very dangerous because it is tough to tell if a website is indeed legitimate or not.

 

How to Stop a Phishing Scam

Unfortunately, there's nothing that you can do to stop a phishing email or website from popping up online. You can be a more discerning web user and identify scams before you become a victim.

 

Always Look at the Website URL Before Entering Information

Have you ever visited a website that looks like one thing, but the URL is completely unrelated? It's like having something from Gmail pop up asking you to login when the URL is www.scam-here.com. Before you enter information like a credit card, social security number, password, or other sensitive data, it's good practice to look at the URL to make sure you weren't redirected.

 

When in Doubt, Don't Click

Your intuition can usually tell if a site is legit or not. In a lot of cases, emails may or may not be legitimate. If there's a shred of doubt, don't click on the link in the email.

 

Never Send Money Based on an Email

Hackers are pretty slick when it comes to phishing scams. They can use a technique called spoofing, where a hacker will send an email that has the email address of someone you know. In some cases, this can be costly.

The real estate industry is becoming a significant target for phishing scams. There's been a 1,100% rise in these scams. Homebuyers will receive an email asking them to wire a deposit or funds related to the home purchase to a bank account. Instead of the money going towards the home purchase, they just paid hackers thousands of dollars.

The lesson for you is that you should always, always verify with the person asking for funds before you send them. Odds are, they will have no idea what you're talking about.

 

Improve Computer Security

You can take specific computer security measures to ensure that your computer is protected in case you accidentally click on a suspicious link. You can start by updating all of your systems and software. You also want to have antivirus software like Malwarebytes or Norton installed and updated on your system.

 

Check Sites for Legitimacy

Some sites inadvertently get caught in the trap of unsafe site filters. For example, if you try to visit the Breakout Games site, you may find that your spam filters will go up and you can't access the site. However, if you check Google's Safe Browsing site and look up the URL, you'll find that the site works just fine and that there is no unsafe content.

 

Don't Fall Victim to Phishing Scams

Your computer security needs to be a top priority to protect yourself from falling victim to a phishing scam. You could become a victim of identity theft or lose thousands of dollars. The best computer security you have is to be able to recognize phishing scams whenever possible. Even if you have a shred of doubt, never send money or enter your password.

Do you want to know other computer scams? Check this blog often for the latest information in scams from travel to financial industries.

 

Phishing Scams: How To Report Them

Let your family and friends about this article by sharing it on social media using the buttons provided. You can also officially report the scammers to the Federal Trade Commission using the link below:

Report To The FTC Here

 

How To Protect Yourself More

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