We're all familiar with spam emails and have learned (for the most part) how to avoid them. But, phishing scams can seem more credible and could cause a lot of damage to your essential business data and files.
Some phishing scams are even personalized just for you—making it more essential than ever to learn how to prevent these attacks from happening. Most cyber criminals have turned to online scams to lure you into giving out your personal information.
As more organizations continue to fall prey to these scams, we must know the red flags and how to avoid phishing scams. Do not take phishing scams too lightly; they are harder to spot, unlike the common scams.
Even with all the new and updated antivirus software, you can never be 100% safe from scammers. Our main aim as your IT services partner and news source is to ensure your organization is secure from these attacks.
On that note, let's discuss what phishing is and how to avoid it.
What is Phishing?
Simply put, phishing lures you into giving the scammer complete access to your personal information or bank credentials.
Once the scammer obtains any login credentials in your company, they will have access to your company's sensitive information. It poses threats like exposing confidential data, and no one would want that.
These schemes will lure you into trusting your attacker and giving out valuable information. It may be something like your LinkedIn logins or maybe your whole identity. They will bait you into opening an attachment, clicking on a link, filling out a form, etc.
Here's a common scenario:
You're scrolling past your emails, then an alert from your bank pops up, and you get tempted to open the link, which you might. The link takes you to a webpage that looks exactly like your bank or close enough.
So, here's the catch: the webpage is a tool to steal your bank credentials. The alert will indicate a problem with your account and ask you for verification. Once you enter your logins, you're then sent to the actual website to verify a second time. By directing you to the right website, you won't realize what has happened till it's too late.
These attacks can be very detailed and convince you to enter your information. The dangers of phishing attacks are that almost anyone is vulnerable.
How To Avoid Phishing
To ensure you're safe from these attacks, we'll give you seven ways to avoid phishing scams:
1. Stay Informed on Phishing Strategies
Phishing techniques are evolving, and if you aren't up to date with the latest scams, you could be a victim. Always watch for the latest news on phishing scams: By staying informed on the latest phishing scams, you'll be less likely to fall prey to one.
2. Avoid Clicking Every Link
As much as you get tempted to click on links, please don't. If you're browsing from a trusted site, it's okay, but clicking links that pop up on random sites or instant messages would be the wrong move.
If you're suspicious about any link, scroll past it. These emails often emulate genuine organizations, and the websites look identical to legitimate websites.
The email, however, may not include your name. Many phishing emails begin with "Dear Customer," so always be on your guard. If you're having second thoughts, go to the source directly instead of clicking a link that could be possibly harmful.
3. Verify the Website's Security
It's okay to be concerned about giving out financial or personal information online. So long as you're browsing on a secure site, you should be fine.
Before giving away your information, ensure the website's URL starts with "HTTPS." Also, look for an icon with a closed lock next to the address bar.
Look into the web site's security certificate also. If you receive an email stating that the site contains malicious files, steer clear off it. Do not download anything from such sites or emails.
4. Make Use of Firewalls
Excellent firewalls will shield your organization from any intruder. There are two various types that you can use:
The first type is software, while the second is hardware. When the two are combined, they can significantly minimize the chance of any hacker or scammer gaining access to your computer.
5. Be Cautious of Pop-Ups
Most pop-ups will resemble legitimate sections of a site. But most of the time, they're phishing attempts. Most popular browsers have a setting that allows users to block any pop-up. If you want to enable them, you can select them one at a time.
Don't click the "cancel" button immediately if any malicious pop-up disappears. Most of the time, such buttons will redirect you to phishing websites. Preferably, click the small "x" to close the window.
6. Never Fill in Personal Information
As common knowledge, never give away any of your personal or financial information to any site online. If you're having second thoughts, you should visit their main page, obtain their contact and call them.
Many phishing emails will take you straight to the page where you will fill in your information; you should make it a general rule to check the addresses of all the sites you visit regularly.
7. Install Antivirus Software
There are tons of reasons why you should install antivirus software. The software has unique signatures that shield your device from malicious files. Remember to update the software frequently to avoid being a victim.
Final Thoughts: How To Avoid Phishing Scams
Remember, phishing scams are constantly evolving, and some are difficult to spot; even the most vigilant person can get scammed, so you can't be 100% safe.
However big or small your organization is, you'll still be a target. And at some point, you will receive these emails. So, your organization must conduct security awareness training so their IT support can stay at the top of the evolution.
At AIS, we want to shield your business from phishing scams. With our guide, organizations can avoid most of the common phishing attacks. To learn more about phishing scams or any inquiries, make sure to contact us today. We’re here to give you peace of mind to help you win more business.
A true southerner from Atlanta, Georgia, Marissa has always had a strong passion for writing and storytelling. She moved out west in 2018 where she became an expert on all things business technology-related as the Content Producer at AIS. Coupled with her knowledge of SEO best practices, she's been integral in catapulting AIS to the digital forefront of the industry. In her free time, she enjoys sipping wine and hanging out with her rescue-dog, WIllow. Basically, she loves wine and dogs, but not whiny dogs.