Phishing scams are ones in which cybercriminals pose as reputable entities in an attempt to get you to share sensitive information or click links which load malware on your device.
- In this video, we'll discuss Phishing Scams including what they are and how you can avoid them. Phishing scams are an extremely unethical way that cyber criminals deceive you with the intention of stealing your money. They do this by tricking you into voluntarily paying money or downloading malware that allows them to access private personal information such as passwords, credit card numbers, or other accounts. Phishing scams often appear in the form of e-mails direct messages on social media, or phone calls. Now typically these scams are ones in which a cyber criminal will pose as a reputable company or a government agency and then deceive you into taking action so that you give up your personal information.
Let's talk a look at some characteristics of these phishing scams. First, they usually appear to be from reputable companies or sometimes as a reputable person such as a friend whose account has been hacked. They usually include threats or incentives which require you to take action. Examples may be, your account is overdue, or you've won 500 dollars. Also, they often include links which they're begging you to clicking on. Many times but not always, they contain spelling and grammatical errors. This is a major giveaway, as most reputable companies would not send out a message with spelling and grammatical errors.
Now, let's take a look at a couple of examples. This first one is an example provided by the IRS at irs.gov in which the person sending the e-mail is posing as the IRS in order to bait you into taking action. Notice that these e-mails can look convincing because the person sending it can include images, and professional talk. Now in here this one's saying that we have a tax refund of $63.80 and again down here is a link that they want us to click on. Now when we click on that, usually they'll ask us for personal information or it may be that, right when we click on the link we access malware.
Let's take a look at an e-mail that I received. This is one that I really am not sure if it is a phishing scam or not. It was in my spam folder, and the title of it was, "Your name was selected for your own $50 dollar Walgreens charge card." Okay so, down here, I can see that I have my free 50 dollar Walgreens charge card, not sure if this is real or not. Now one thing I want to point out in this is that when you see links within an e-mail like this, you can hover over them. Now, in these e-mails when you hover over something that you can click on which is usually the bait that they want you to click on, you'll notice that the URL will appear at the bottom.
Down below this one is amisospo and etc. etc. So, you can take a look at that URL and enter it into something like Safeweb. Or search for a scam like this on something like Snopes or do a Google search for it. In this case I'm not sure if this one's a phishing scam or not, but I'm not going to take any chances 'cause it really just doesn't look like it is something that is realistic. Next, let's take a look at an example of a private message that I received on Facebook. Here it is, and this was from a user who is a good friend of mine.
And their account has sense been deleted but imagine that I get this direct message and it's from someone that I trust, I know. In this case however, their account was hacked. So they start out by saying, "Hello, Oliver, how are you doing today?" I say,"I'm doing well, how are you?" "I'm doing great, hope you're having a great day so far." At this point, I already thought it was suspicious that this person was saying this to me. But, "Same to you, how's everything going?" They say, "Everyone is doing great, Oliver." "Did you heard about the good news?" Kay, so right there, some grammatical errors. And I already kind of realize that this is something weird going on.
I type back, "No." and they put, "Oh really? I mean the Facebook corporation" "and games company had a promo with our profile names" "I received $200,000 dollars box cash delivered to my house" "did they also come to your house?" At this point, I closed it out and reported it. So, these are the types of things where then they will ask for information or ask you to click on a link. So, beware of these types of scams. Another resources that I recommend checking out to see examples is one from Cal-State Berkeley. Cal-State Berkeley has a great resource on its website that I recommend you check out.
It provides bunch of sample phishing e-mails, as well as tips to avoid them. You can access this on security.berkeley.edu. And from this website, go check out the resources and then phishing scam examples. Here they have a ton of different ones that you can click on and see. So you get the feel for what these look like. Now, knowing that these scams exist, puts us in a predicament. Because sometimes we receive legitimate e-mails that we need to take action on. So what can we do? And this brings up another great point.
Often phishing scams will pose as reputable businesses such as PayPal, Ebay, Facebook, or maybe your bank. Now, if you receive an e-mail that you're not sure about, my advice is to avoid clicking on any links inside of the e-mail. Instead, navigate to your account on that sight, and check for any alerts, If necessary, take it upon yourself to contact that company's customer service. And ask them if the issue is legitimate. In the case of the one for the IRS, maybe there I would send a message to the IRS directly in a new window, and ask them if I really did have a rebate coming.
Now I've heard many people say that although they would click on these inside the e-mail, they'd never give up their credit card information. But sometimes, just clicking on the link itself can cause malware to infect your device, and compromise your personal information. Beware of phishing scams and other scams in which people pose as someone else in an attempt to get your money or information. If you do come across one of these scams, you can likely take action to report it. To help prevent it from impacting others. For instance, in the United States, you can report these scams to the Federal Trade Commission via their website.
And most other countries will have similar ways to report them as well.
- Accessing your school's Internet policy
- Avoiding a negative digital footprint
- Understanding which websites are safe and secure
- Customizing your browser settings
- Staying secure when using the Internet
- Avoiding malware and phishing scams
- Using public computers
- Using free public Wi-Fi
- Purchasing textbooks online
- Taking precautions when browsing on mobile devices