Phishing is one of the most common way that thieves access valuable information and infect computer systems. Phishing scams are designed to lure you into clicking links or visiting fake websites that contain malware.
Sometimes just opening an e-mail from a scammer or clicking a link is enough to download malware that can search your computer for user credit card numbers, social security numbers, passwords, and other valuable resources. It is a new form of identity theft.
Here is how to identify scam emails and what action you can take before they do damage.
How to identify scam emails
- Scams email convey consequences if you fail to respond.
- Scams email will have links to click within the e-mail.
- Scams don’t specify account numbers or other identifying information. Scams use generic
- Scams use popular Bank names, or the “Central Bank of Nigeria”, etc
- Scams often contain corporate logos ( minimal alteration to the original logo).
- Scams often promise to share or transfer millions of dollars to you for your participation.
- Scams provide a wide array of reasoning, hoping one fits your situation.
- Scams provide phony shortcuts to access their corporate Web sites.
- Scams often contain attachments infected with malware.
- Scams often seek foreign partner to help with them with their crisis situation for your participation.
- Scams often contain misspellings and poor grammar.
- Scams e-mail also convince you to forward the e-mail to others
How to Avoid Phishing Scams
- When you are asked to log into your bank via email, don’t click the link – instead go to the bank’s website, and log in to the secure site.
- Be cautious of the email that come from unrecognized senders.
- Never sign into a link that emerges from an email attachment.
- Never click “Reply” to respond to questionable e-mails directly. Always create a “New” e-mail if you wish to reply.
- Never click any links in a questionable e-mail or an e-mail from a sender you don’t know.
- Never provide any personal information or financial information via e-mail.
- Never open zip attachments unless you are absolutely sure they come from a known email address.
- Never open or download any attachment from a sender you don’t know.
- Beware of links in emails that ask for personal information
Security software such as antivirus programs, anti-spyware software, and pop-up blocker software can protect your computer from malware.