Have you ever received an email that contains attachments, hyperlinks, unusual senders, or urgent from your bank or trusted company? Were you asked for your personal information? These emails may look legit, but be careful, this kind of emails aims to deceive you. It happens when a fraudster contacts you through email, by phone or text messages pretending to be your legitimate business, asking for your important information like bank account, credit card number, login account, PIN or even your social security number. This is a scam called Phishing.

Phishing scams are a growing threat on the Internet. Unfortunately, estimated 1.2 Million of internet users in the US give out their information to the criminal every year. In this article, I will show you the top 7 myths or misconceptions about this vicious scam.

Let’s get started.

1. Phishing Email is detectable.

Phishers are smart, they tend to ‘level up’ their work and find new ways to deceive even those ones who know about network security, for example, the IT people.

The elderly are most common victims who would fall for this scam, mainly because they are non-tech-savvy users and they’ve gain trust to their well-liked corporations for years. Scammers also send job offer emails which mainly targets the unemployed asking them for their private information. Attackers also victimize the auction buyers by sending them emails offering a better price for the won items. Everyone can be fooled by this vicious scam, so it’s better to be careful giving out information through the internet.

2. I never clicked a phishing email link, so I’m safe.

No. Unfortunately, you’re not. It relates to another type of cyber-attack called Pharming, which intends to redirect the user to a fake website which looks identical to the real one. Without you noticing what’s happening during the process, the hacker has now the permission to know your network information and eventually, alters your Domain Name Server (DNS) by installing malware on your computer and compromising your home network security.

3. I never opened some suspicious attachments, and that’s good.

Again, attackers can still find a way to get to your accounts and steal your private information. Emails and websites use HTML with JavaScript to create ads, these ads can contain malware, viruses and links that will automatically download a file, redirect you to a fake website or even release scripts that will compromise your computer and exploit your personal information.

4. There’s a ‘Lock’ in the website which means it’s secure.

Have you seen a small lock icon on the top left of your browser when visiting a website? If yes, that means the website is secure, encrypting any communications being done between you and the site. Also, it keeps your private information. As mentioned before, phishers can also create encrypted fake websites. Just remember that having a lock or key on the website doesn’t always mean it is safe, so be careful.

5. Poor grammar means keep out.

Even uneducated phishers can create fake websites and email messages with a perfect grammar. How? By the use of grammar soft wares like Spell Checker or Whitesmoke, or even with the help of freelance writers or content creators. Isn't it smart?

6. Phishing only targets email messages.

New tactics on email phishing have emerged. Criminals can fool us by creating Rogue mobile apps has the ability to create links or download files with hidden malware or viruses attached to the file. Alarmingly, the rogue apps can be downloaded in legitimate stores like GooglePlay or AppleStore. Once downloaded and installed, the hacker has now the permission to access your personal information.

7. I have Spam filters and Antivirus software, they’ll protect me.

Anti-virus software and spam filter detect and minimize the number of all phishing messages and protect you from it. Unfortunately, these will not help you in the long term, because spam filters only limit to check messages from one sender/recipient. It’s good to use filters but never rely your safety on those automated security solutions.

 

Maybe you might think that you’re not their target. But let me tell you, sooner or later, you might be. The best thing to do is never give any information out to anyone who contacts you out of the blue. To protect not only you but also other people to this scam, immediately report any suspicious activity by calling the number on the back of your card. So be aware of phishing and protect your information so that you can never be the next victim.

 

Published by Alisa Bagrii