What is Phishing?
Phishing as defined on www.phishing.com, is a type of cybercrime in which hackers contact you while posing as a legitimate institution or organization in an attempt to get you to provide sensitive or private information. Phishing attempts usually ask you to download a file or click a link, and doing so will infect your computer with malicious software that can cause your personal information to end up in the wrong hands. With this information, they commit various crimes, especially financial or identity theft, the consequences of which can be extremely severe.
Phishing is a common cybercrime that can occur over the telephone, via SMS text message, or, as is most often the case, through email. Almost all phishing scams have onething in common; website or email spoofing. Spoofing is the act of creating a website or email template that nearly perfectly mimics a legitimate website. On a graphical level, these replicas are virtually identical can be almost impossible to distinguish from the real thing. Most times, the only distinguishing feature will be a slight change in the URL of the original website. www.amazon.com, can be spoofed as www.amazonn.com. A slight and usually unrecognizable change.
Spoofed emails are usually harder to recognise as there are only very slight differences from the real deal. Spoofed emails are so accurate that not even a trained eye will be able to spot the differences right away. You should always keep an eye out because falling for these spoofed emails and succumbing to the consequences that can result.
9 Most Common Phishing Scams
Email phishing can take a lot of forms; so many that I could never identify all of them. In this list, I will enumerate some of the most common, as well as some of their characteristics, so that you can get better at spotting them and knowing when not to click.
The government might not always be the most trusted organisation, but we know that regardless of politics, we still tend to think of the government as a safe space, one that can’t be hacked. While this is true, phishing doesn’t involve any form of hacking. Phishing emails aren’t sent from government agencies, they are designed to look as though they are from a government agency, most often security and healthcare agencies, and they are designed to trick you into giving away your personal information.
Phishing emails of this kind are exceptionally dangerous because they often ask for your most important information, such as your social security number. The fact that the email appears to come from the government, we are more likely to give this information away.
These mails may say that you have been put under investigation for “downloading illegal files,” or that you need to update a government account with your correct information. This is quite convincing at first glance but is false. The government usually sends you a paper letter in the mail, when they need you to do something important. If you’ve opted for paperless communications with the government agency, then you should check to make sure the suspicious email is coming from the same sender as previous messages. Also try to contact the agency either at their office or through the phone to verify if the email you’ve received is real.
Fake Tax Emails
Hackers are also known to prey upon people’s fear of making a mistake on their taxes to get your personal information and rob you. These spoof emails start circulating around tax time (early Spring), and they usually say one of two things. Either you’re being audited and you need to submit information; or, you’ve been pre-approved for an early refund.
The latter is a typical example of something being too good to be true, so be skeptical if you receive a message of this nature. The first one can be seen through easily because if you’re being audited, the IRS or finincial security agency will communicate with you in some other way besides a quick email.
Again, being audited is a huge problem. So, when you get a message saying that you are about to be audited, the first thing you should do is get in touch with the finincial security agency (usually the IRS). They will know about it if it’s real and if it isn’t, you will be saved from the trouble that comes with falling for a phishing attack.
This phishing scam is intended to play on your natural desire to help other people. The emails are sent in the form of someone claiming to be in a desperate situation, who needs your help. They may come from strangers but more often than not, they are sent from people you know whose account has been hacked. However, they all have one thing in common; they will always ask for your money
They will try to prey on your emotions one way or the other by telling you some crocodile teared sob story. They will typically tell you how they had been robbed, or how they lost their wallet, and now have no money to return home to safety. They may ask you to wire them some money directly but in other cases they will ask you to book them a hotel room or buy them a plane ticket. They may ask you to pay for something for them and ask you to send them your credit card information, or they may send you a link to click on. No matter how thhey phrase it, don’t be fooled.
If you get an email like this from someone you know, there’s a simple solution: contact that person to find out if they really are in danger. If it comes from a stranger then it’s definitely a phishing email. Nobody contacts strangers via email when they sre in trouble.
Update Your Account
This particular phishing scam is very common and comes in the form of a spoofed email, from a trusted organization, saying there is a problem with your account that you need to fix immediately. They’ll say that they want to make it easier for you so theyll5 sebd the email with a convenient link to a spoofed website where you will provide login information for that site. Because it’s a fake site, you’ll end up giving ⁿyour private information to the hackers, which they will use to steal whatever they can from you.
When you receive an email like this and you really can’t tell if it’s real or not, the best thing you can do is reach out to the company or institution that contacted you to see if there is a problem, and if there isn’t, this is a great chance for you to alert them that they have been attacked and need to address the security of their site.
You’re a Winner!
The idea of winning the lottery is always a way to get our attention; but remember, you can’t win a lottery you never entered; you have to play to win. The people behind these kind of scams will play on our desire to win things and send you fake emails claiming you’ve won a special prize. These prizes are very tempting but before you do anything, ask yourself: did I enter this lottery or contest? If the answer is no, then this email is most certainly a scam.