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What is Phishing and How Can I Avoid it?

Phishing is a popular scam in today’s digital world. Pronounced as “fishing,” this form of fraud is when a criminal targets their victim by email, telephone, or text message. These messages often contain malicious links, attachments, or other forms that require an unsuspecting victim to enter their personal details which are then stolen by the attacker.

How Can I Spot Phishing?

The good news is that phishing can be prevented. Here are a few ways to tell if you’re being scammed and how you can avoid it.

Poor Grammar

Many phishing messages, including emails and text messages, are poorly written. If the grammar or structure of the message seems off, it’s probably fraudulent.

Unknown Sender

If the message is coming from an unknown address or number, chances are it’s not legitimate. If you’re unsure if an email address is safe to reply to, look up contact information of the original company. If the domain name (last part of the email address) does not match, it’s fake.

Unknown Links and Attachments

If a message contains a suspicious hyperlink, don’t click it and assume it is malicious. Hovering over hyperlinked text can reveal the real destination of the link without opening the link and exposing your computer. Do not click on shortened links such as Bitly because these can be used to disguise longer malicious links.

Logos and Images

If the scammer is trying to imitate an existing company or service, look for official logos and high-resolution images. If the logos are cut off or pixelated, the message is fake.

Be careful not to rely on official logo usage when determining phishing. Advanced scammers can use high-quality logos without permission of the original company.

How Can I Avoid Getting Scammed?

Phishing is preventable if you know the signs. Approach unfamiliar or suspicious messages with caution and don’t be afraid to ask a third party if you think you might be facing a scam. Never give personal information through the phone or web unless you are the one who initiated the situation and are sure you will be safe.

If you suspect you are the target of a phishing scam, do not click any links and delete the email. If you received the message through a company, school, or other corporate email, alert your company about the message so they can warn others about the dangers of phishing.

WheelHouse IT provides technological services and security measures to help prevent you from phishing scams. Contact us if your business is interested in working with a technological adviser. 

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