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5 Tips On How To Spot Phishing And Avoid It
Phishing is a fraudulent act carried out by computer hackers (usually through email) to trick you into giving them your sensitive information such as your login details or banking transaction details. Phishing emails often look very genuine, as though they have been sent from a well-known source.
Hackers want to misguide you by sending you emails that appear authentic and then lead you from that email to their fake website wherein they will try to trick you into divulging sensitive data. A common pattern involves prompting you to click a link in the e-mail; you will then be usually led to a fake login page of a site where they will trick you into typing your confidential information.
Once you enter the information they were phishing for, computer hackers will immediately come to know about it and then they will be able to use it. As such, they might access your email account or banking account and take undue advantage of it. Sounds scary, doesn't it?
Fortunately, there is much you can do to avoid being caught up in this type of fraudulent scheme.
How to avoid being a victim of phishing
Legitimate organizations will never send you such an email with a link that leads to a login page to access your account with them. Instead, when they need to suggest you do something that requires you to login into their site, they will always tell you to visit their site directly and then enter your login details there.
Since this involves you typing their website in the browser, it ensures you are fully aware of the website you're going to. Just by keeping this simple reasoning in mind, you can go a long way to protect yourself against phishing attempts.
Phishing from Generic emails
When your bank or organization sends you an email, they will send you a personalized email that will contain your name in it. Phishing emails may appear genuine but they will not have any personalized message for you. The reason behind it is that the same email is sent in bulk to many recipients. If you happen to suspect you've been sent a generic email, you should not click on any link that it contains or download any of its attachment.
Phishing through forged links
Some phishing emails can appear as though they were sent from a known organization, with the mischief attempt taking place within the included links. You may feel that the clicking on the link will lead you to that organization's website. However, when you click on the link, you will be unknowingly led to a completely different website.
A simple way to detect this type of phishing bait is to hover your mouse (do not click, just hover) on the link and see if the web address shown in the status bar of your internet browser matches with the email.
Unsecure sites that Phish your data
If you do happen to click on a link of a phishing email and then you land on a login page of your bank or email, through one simple observation you can find whether it is a genuine or a fake page:
You need to carefully look at the web address that you see in the address bar and if you do not see the web URL starting with an https (where 's' indicates a secure site), do not proceed. You can also see a lock sign at the status bar of your website when you visit a secure site.
Phishers want your personal info
No matter what form it takes, the aim of phishing is to scam you into giving your personal details. It could be your e-mail password, your credit card or your bank account details, or something as innocent looking as the login to a website from where they can get access to such data.
If you see any email asking you to provide the recipient with personal info, it is most likely a phishing attempt. In case of doubt, just manually open the website from where the message is supposed to be from, and log in from there as you usually do – without clicking any link from the e-mail.
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