Tips to Avoid Phishing
Written by: Catalogs.com Editorial Staff
November 13, 2012
Filed Under Tech and Electronics
Contributed by Info Guru Lisa Pratto
Phishing, pronounced like fishing, is a sneaky way criminals try to steal your personal information and, in turn, your money, reputation and good name.
Simply put, they send out innocent looking emails to massive amounts of recipients hoping that someone will bite. The goal is to trick you into giving out your password or other important information. Don’t. Follow these tips to avoid phishing and to protect your family.
Tech savvy scammers will build a “spoof” website that looks almost like the original one. Look carefully at both the site design and the web address. Things are not always what they seem.
9. It Looks Safe
Most people assume that criminals will use an odd web address and that a .com is safe. Wrong-o. Criminals know that people think that way and they can buy a .com just as easily as the next guy. Don’t assume that it is safe.
Just like in 4th grade, spelling counts. Get out your red pen and check it out. We both know that your bank didn’t accidentally misspell their own name.
7. Slash what?
A web address has a certain pattern. There’s the http:// part, the name of the site and then the .com or .org part. Sometimes they can try to trick you by doing something like this, http : // their name.com/your bank. Don’t fall for it.
Paying attention to tips to avoid phishing can be as simple as reading the URL (web address) of the site they are trying to send you to. Just as the slash can be a trick, criminals can use the same techniques with numbers. For example, http : // 123. your bank . com is NOT your bank.
Yet another sneak attack is adding extra words to the web address to trick you. They like to use words like verify, account update, or account information like this, http : // accountverify.com/ your bank. Yup. You guessed it. It is not your bank.
4. Security Breach
Frequently the message will state that there has been a security breach and that need to verify your account or password. Nope. It’s a trick. Their goal is to panic you into giving out the info.
3. Be Smart
There are a lot of tips to avoid phishing, but the best is to think it through. It is extremely abnormal for a company to contact you via email and ask for private information. They don’t ask for it on the phone. They don’t want to know your password. They only ask for the last 4 digits of your social security number. Anything else is not normal and should set off little alarms in your head.
2. Google It
If it smells fishy, run it through Google. Type the website’s URL into a search box and see what comes up. Many times victims will post their stories to warn others. Heed their advice and keep your passwords locked up safe.
When in doubt, hit delete. Plain and simple. You can call up your financial institution if you want to be sure, but delete the email. Better yet, mark it as spam and then delete it so that you block future emails from that address.