Beware of AI-Generated Phishing Scams: How to Stay Safe Online
Phishing scams are becoming more prevalent, according to a new Symantec analysis. According to the study, phishing attacks rose 36% in the first half of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016.
Phishing: What Is It?
To fool people into giving them personal information like credit card numbers, passwords, or banking information, scammers send emails or create websites that look like reputable organizations. This practice is known as phishing.
What Causes the Increase in Phishing Scams?
Phishing scams are increasing in frequency for a few reasons:
- There are more possible targets for criminals because more people use the internet and online services.
- Phishing schemes are getting more advanced and challenging to detect.
- More companies store customer data online, motivating thieves to steal it.
How Can You Guard Against Phishing Scams?
You can take a few steps to safeguard yourself from phishing fraud:
- Exercise caution while opening emails and clicking links. Only click on links or attachments in emails if you know their validity.
- Make sure your browsers and software are current. Criminals frequently use flaws in out-of-date software to steal data.
- Ensure your online accounts have a secure password different from the others.
There are steps you may take to protect yourself from phishing scams, which are getting increasingly prevalent. Be cautious when opening emails and clicking links, and ensure you have a secure password for your internet accounts.
How to Spot a Phishing Scheme Email phishing is a cyberattack in which the attacker tries to convince the victim to click on a malicious link or provide sensitive information, including login credentials or credit card information. Phishing attacks are frequently conducted by email, but they can also take the shape of texts, calls, or even bogus websites.
Spear phishing is one of the most typical kinds of phishing assaults. In this targeted attack, the attacker meticulously designs an email that appears to be from a reliable source, like a firm CEO or a well-known service provider. The email could have a link to a malicious website or an attachment that, when clicked, will install malware on the victim’s machine.
Whaling is a well-known subtype of phishing assault. It is a targeted attack on prominent people, including business leaders or public figures. Once more, the attacker will make a great effort to create an email from a reliable source. The email can link to a dangerous website or include an attachment that, when viewed, will install malware on the victim’s machine.
How to Guard Against Phishing Attacks
It’s critical to be able to recognize them.
Indicators that an email may be a phishing effort include the following:
- Your name is not mentioned in the email.
- There are grammatical or spelling mistakes in the email.
- The sender of the email is unidentified.
- The email conveys a sense of urgency, albeit a fake one.
- A request for private or financial information is made in the email.
- The email includes a link to a suspicious-looking website.
Do not click on links or open attachments in emails that you suspect may be phishing attempts. Instead, destroy the email and notify your company’s security team or your IT department.
How to Respond to a Phishing Email If You Think You’ve Received One
You may take several actions to safeguard your information if you have received a phishing email.
Verify the email address of the sender. Phishing emails frequently originate from addresses similar to the address of the business or organization they are purporting to be from. You can always ask the company directly if you need clarification.
Look for spelling and grammar mistakes. These are frequently blatant indicators that an email is fake.
Any email that requests that you open a link or download an attachment should be avoided. These can be used to steal your personal information or infect your machine with malware. It’s wise to be safe and delete emails with links or attachments if you weren’t expecting them.
Run a virus check on your computer as soon as possible if you choose to click on a link or attachment in a phishing email. Of course, you should only divulge sensitive information like your Social Security number, credit card number, or bank account details once you are 100 percent certain you are talking with the right individual.
How to Guard Against Phishing Scams
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) defines phishing as an internet scam in which fraudsters send phony emails or texts while posing as representatives of a well-known company to coerce victims into providing sensitive information, including passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. Pop-up advertisements and bogus websites are other ways to use phishing scams.
Even though anyone can fall for a phishing scam, there are some precautions you can take to keep yourself safe:
Recognize the telltale symptoms of a phishing email or text message, including generic welcomes, urgent requests for personal information, threats or repercussions for not responding, and links or attachments that seem off.
Avoid responding to strange emails or texts, and refrain from clicking links or opening attachments.
If you need help determining whether an email or text is coming from a reliable source, contact the business to find out. Never make contact using the email or text provided details.
Update your anti-virus and anti-malware software frequently, and scan your devices regularly.
Even if an unwanted email or text appears from a reliable source, you should still be wary of it.
You may assist in safeguarding yourself from becoming a phishing scam victim by considering these straightforward suggestions.
How to Respond If You’ve Fallen for a Phishing Scam
You can do a few things to safeguard yourself and your information if you’ve fallen victim to a phishing scam.
Make password changes.
You should instantly change your passwords if you’ve been duped. It will lessen the likelihood that your accounts will ever be compromised. Use distinct passwords for each account and select secure, hard-to-guess passwords.
Investigate your credit report.
It’s crucial to monitor your credit report for any illegal charges if you’ve shared financial details like your credit card number or Social Security number. Once every 12 months, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three main credit bureaus.
Call the banking institutions you use.
If you have shared your financial details, you must contact your bank or credit card provider to close your account and open a new one. Additionally, keep a tight eye on your account for any fraudulent charges.