What is Phishing?
Microsoft’s Safety and Security Center describes phishing as the following:
“A type of online identity theft. It uses email and fraudulent websites that are designed to steal your personal data or information such as credit card numbers, passwords, account data, or other information”.
So phishers use techniques to steal your data, but they don’t do it by hacking into your security. Like fishers, they will bait you, and then you will take the bait if you aren’t aware. They tend to delve straight into the minds of the people they are scamming, and they convince you to give up personal info. There are many types of phishing, and some of it doesn’t have to involve identity theft. Here are some phishers you’ll encounter online.
These are the phishers Microsoft typically refers to when they discuss phishing. They’re designed to steal your personal info, and they do it by convincing you that you have to.
For instance, they may pretend to be your bank or an online shopping center that you use. They’ll claim that there’s a problem in your account, and to fix it, they will typically tell you to log into your account using the provided link. The link will take you to what appears to be the site, but it’s a lookalike. Once you enter your info, the phisher has it, and will use it to log into your account and use your credit cards or other personal info.
They may even ask for you to give them your credit card number, bank account number, address, and other precious info. Never do this. To fight against phishing, never give an email your personal info. If the email appears to be from the bank or from another source you usually trust, you should contact them and make sure that the email is legitimate.
Many sites and banks do not do this practice, as it would make phishing even more successful.Extensions can also help you against phishers. Extensions such as Web of Trust typically look for signs of a fake website or a phishing email.
Finally, read the contents of the email itself. Some phishers tend to come from places where English isn’t their first language. If the email has typos and awkward sentence structure, it’s definitely not from a professional organization.
This recent phenomenon has been a new way for phishers to exploit people. Typically, they may pose as a member from your credit card company, telling you that your card has been suspended because of suspicious activity, and that you must give them your information to lift the suspension. All they want is your number so they can purchase things with your card.
If you receive a call like this, never give them your information. If your card really is under suspicion, they’ll typically call you and ask you to verify the purchases the card has made recently, not give out your information. They are also vague with their claims, so sometimes they may say they’re from a generic organization instead of your bank or credit card provider. Because of this, contact your bank or credit card provider to make sure your account is in good standing.
Phishing on a Social Network
Phishers are taking advantage of the fact that more are social networking than ever. They may hack your friend’s account and post a strange article that you may not think twice about clicking.
However, it turns out to be a phishing link. These typically aren’t life-threatening. They may just want your email so they can spam you, but they aren’t going to take your personal info. However, some may cause more harm.
Seeing as though banks and credit card companies have social media presence, phishers may pose as those pages or accounts and try to ask their users for information. They may even be able to hack the official profiles of the bank accounts. However, you can combat against social network phishing.
One way is to make sure that you have security software. Another great extension is a link preview, which will show you the page the link takes you to without going there, so you can see if it’s a scam.
Phishing is here to stay, because as they say, a sucker is born every second. However, people who fall for phishing scams aren’t necessarily stupid. Some may not know about phishing, or may be using their computers under the influence of something illegal. Don’t end up having to reset your device to factory settings – or worse.
That’s why we’re here to inform you about phishing. All you need to do to combat phishing is to be skeptical. A few extensions help as well, but as long as you don’t give them your personal info, their attempt to phish will fail.