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Top 5 Tips To Avoid Phishing Scams

By:Christine Fettinger

The most common part of phishing is to acquire sensitive information. Phishers send well fraudulent emails disguised as a legitimate establishment with intentions of stealing credit card or banking information from high profile C-level executives. Most common examples include, usernames, passwords, credit cards, identity theft, currencies (PayPal, bitcoins), etc.

phishing

These fraudsters are in it to gain trust. Be on the lookout for signs of a phishing email as they become increasingly hard to decipher. Most of these scammers will try to misspell words—quick to deceive a person who is quickly skimming their emails. Scammers will also show the URL of a specific bank page, but it will appear as a spoof of a bank’s official webpage. In reality, the website is fraudulent – created to retrieve sensitive banking information.

What to expect with phishing attacks:

  1. Be on the lookout – Prepare for warnings. This can consist of warnings, alerts, stolen information, easy fixes, prizes, donations, and “click here” messages. To check the true authenticity of any messages that have you skeptical, always go to the company’s website—better yet call them. The odds of a company reaching out to you regarding any security breaches are extremely slim. Instead, call back from a legitimate source and reconfirm the situation.
  2. Check the URLs – Most emails displayed in a mail program offer the ability to display the URL when hovered over the cursor. Do Not Click on the Link. They will try to forward you to a suspicious URL that is similar to what the message corresponds to. Try typing the URL of the organization in the address bar yourself for precautionary measures.
  3. Misspelling and bad grammar – Poor formatting and misspellings typically give away fraudulent emails. Authenticity goes a long way. Be on the lookout for awkward wording and sketchy images. Look carefully at the example email address.
    • Email addresses from president@company.com can easily be spoofed as president@company.co
  4. Leverage Browser Extensions and Built-In Tools – Popular browser choices such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox have phishing protection built-in. Note: Certain browsers require user activation.
  5. Message Security – Always make of note of what you’re sending. Have a process internally to check transactions of money or any other sensitive information such as having it confirmed by at least two people. Then, check your statements and balances for suspicious activity to ensure no unauthorized transactions have been made.

Often, IT can be frustrating – the right call at the right moment can easily trigger the need for help. An on-going problem might trigger a user to become a victim of these phishing attacks. For instance, fake representatives offering and reaching out with IT support assuming you have problems.

Be suspicious of any organization demanding payments. Companies taking up precautionary measures with new methods such as testing their users with fake attacks are not unheard of. Phishing is nothing new and it’s not slowing down. What sectors of business will they strike now? Experts predict that healthcare organizations are the most targeted. Most doctors’ offices lack resources to safeguard sensitive patient information. Paperless is now the norm–expect more electronic health records being audited, thus, requiring more security than ever before.

Phishing is nothing new and it’s not slowing down – Fraudsters are in it to gain trust. With signs of phishing emails becoming increasingly hard to decipher, it’s important to ensure your trust gets put in the right hands. Here at CyberStreams, we have proactive solutions and advice designed to keep your company secure. Call us at (425) 2_74-1121, or send us an email: sales@cyberstreams.com.