Phishing scams are cyber-attacks that are aimed to target you. Phishing scams come in two forms, emails and websites. There are steps you can take to help you differentiate between what is legitimate and what is fake to help keep your data, your identity and your money safe.
How Phishing Scams Work
Phishing scams are emails and websites that are sent and made by what appears to be legitimate organizations, but with malicious intent. The scammers goal is to mimic a site that you might ordinarily go to in order to gain access to your sensitive information. You receive links to click on either by email, social media, or text with instructions to download documents or have you input your personal or business information.
Scammers create fake log ins on websites that seem almost identical to the authentic websites that you may use. The fake sites may be banking sites, social media sites, government sites and e-commerce sites. Once you enter your login information, they are able to gain access to your accounts or data. Unfortunately, it isn’t until funds are gone, suspicious activity is noticed on credit cards or friends start receiving spam emails that you are alerted that you may have been hacked.
PC Magazine provides several ways to make sure that you are clicking onto legitimate websites and inputting your information into the right website. We have a few simple steps effective to help you avoid being scammed.
How to Verify Websites
There are a few ways to verify if the website you are visiting is legitimate.One simple way to check if a website is legit is the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) which looks like a lock and is located next to the URL. Take a look at what we have located next to our URL above. Legit sites should have “https” which indicates that they have an SSL certificate. This doesn’t guarantee the site isn’t fake. Look hard at the URL. Is the domain that of a legitimate source? For example, one that reads “spam.paypal.com” could be a sub-domain of PayPal, whereas paypal.spam.com has absolutely nothing to do with PayPal.
We have three rules that we follow to avoid phishing:
- Don’t ever click on a link to login. Ever. Always go to that site in your web browser and log in there. From there, can enter your login and and password.
- Do not click on any links in unfamiliar emails. If you do not know the sender or have not requested the email, don’t click the link. This will not only save you from a possible phishing attempt if it contains a login, but can also save you from a potential malware attack.
- Apply these rules to links from social media and and texts. It may seem tempting to click a link from a friend, but if that link asks you to login, take a pass and treat it like a link from an email and go to the site directly from your browser.
We Can Help You Avoid Phishing Scams!
If your small business is not yet up to date on all the latest security protections, we can help. We have experience setting up access for you and your remote staff, installing anti-virus, malware protection and more. Security is our most important goal in everything we do.
Image: PC Magazine