Phishing scams are increasingly common these days and look set to be a problem for the foreseeable future since a successful one allows cyber criminals to rake in huge profits. The good news is that there are several steps you can take to avoid falling prey to such scam. Here are 10 tips to help you to protect yourself.
Stay Up To Date With The Latest Phishing Techniques
- New scams are being developed every day, and if you don’t stay up to date with the latest techniques it’s all too easy to become a victim. Stay attentive to news about any new scams that are reported and, in the case of IT administrators, having ongoing training on security awareness and phishing for every user is recommended to ensure the organization stays secure.
Think Before Clicking
- If you’re visiting a trusted website you shouldn’t be afraid to click on a link, however if you click on a link in an instant message or random email you could end up being redirected to a bogus website address. Hover your mouse over any link before clicking to check it leads to the correct destination. Often, phishing emails take you to what appears to be a genuine site but is in fact a dangerous one where any information you enter can be stolen. Look out for emails which don’t use your name and which instead begin with the words “Dear Customer”.
- Most internet browsers are customisable and can have an anti-phishing toolbar installed. These run a quick check on any site you visit, comparing it with the up to date list of known scam websites. You will then be alerted if you accidentally stumble upon one.
- If you’re shopping online, always check that the URL of the site starts with “https” and that there is an image of a closed padlock by the address bar. Also check the site has a security certificate. If you receive a message which states the site may have malicious files avoid opening the site and never download any file from a suspicious website or email.
Check Online Accounts On A Regular Basis
- If you have an online account you haven’t visited for some time, make sure you check it regularly in case someone is using it instead of you. Change passwords regularly and personally go over all credit card and bank statements every month to check for fraudulent transactions.
Keep Browsers Current
- There are new security patches always being released for internet browsers to deal with security loopholes being exploited by hackers and phishers. Always install these patches as soon as possible.
Use A Firewall
- A high quality firewall is an effective buffer between you and your PC and any intruders trying to steal your information. Use both a network and a desktop firewall as this will hugely cut the chances of any hacker or phisher infiltrating your network.
Be Aware Of Pop-Ups
- A pop-up window may look like part of a genuine website but could well be a phishing attempt. Use a pop-up blocker and if one does show up, click on the “x” in the window’s upper corner.
Never Give Personal Details
- Avoid sharing financially sensitive and personal information online. If you’re suspicious about any website, go to the company’s main page, get their telephone number and call them up. Never supply financial or personal details through a link provided in an email and never send emails containing this sort of information.
Install Antivirus Software
- Antivirus software is an essential tool in protecting yourself from phishing scams. By using anti-spyware settings and updating them on a regular basis you can protect both your computer system and your bank account.