Phishing is a subset of a social engineering attack that has been wreaking havoc since the ’80s. Phishing can be done in many forms, but the end goal is the same – users are tricked into giving out sensitive information by fraudulent actors who masquerade as being legitimate. Many methods are used by these fraudulent actors to trick their users, and the common ones include spoofing, email links, pop-ups, and even phone calls. The sensitive information they seek includes usernames and passwords, social security numbers, credit cards, and other bank related information. Here are some major phishing scams you should know and various solutions on how to protect yourself against them;
Email phishing scams
This is one of the most common and most utilized phishing scams. An email phishing scam involves a malicious actor masquerading as someone important in a company or even some known celebrity who sends a fraudulent email to unsuspecting users. The email usually contains a link to a fake or spoofed website designed in a way that it looks similar to for instance the company website.
This fake website will then ask users to provide sensitive or Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Since it seems real, unsuspecting users will give out the information which might later be used for fraud and identity theft.
- Do not open spam emails or even click links in emails without scrutiny
- Be cautious and inspect link addresses and ensure the websites you visit to start with HTTPS.
This is another popular phishing scam similar to email phishing, but this involves voice hence the name vishing. This occurs through phone calls in which malicious actors trick unsuspecting users into giving out sensitive information.
- Always confirm if the number is legitimate before giving out PII. Most companies have their numbers on their websites.
- If the caller tells you to call another number, do not do that.
Tech support scams
This is some type of vishing in which malicious actors call unsuspecting individuals claiming that they are from a tech/security organization. They then trick the individual into believing that there’s malware in their system and that they will take care of the problem if the individual installs some remote desktop connection software.
If the victim installs the software, the scammers will then install malware and then ask the victim for a fee to remove the malware.
- Similar to vishing, confirm the phone number before accepting further instructions.
- Never allow anyone to access your computer remotely.
Pop-ups are some form of advertisement in which a small window rich in graphics appears when you’re surfing the internet. They usually contain links to other related content.
Pop-ups can be dangerous especially when they are malicious. They can be intrusive, refuse to close and in turn open up several webpages. Other pop-ups may display a message warning you that your device is infected and entice you to click it for a free scan. They usually look legitimate, and most people fall for the trap.
- Install an adblocker/pop up blocker.
- Allow only pop-ups from trusted sites.
- Never click on pop-ups.
If you’ve been scammed, do the following;
- Change all your passwords,
- Contact your bank to take appropriate actions; and
- Scan your device for malware and viruses.
Use a VPN – IPBurger VPN
Malicious actors may intercept your internet traffic especially on public Wi-Fi and propagate phishing attacks via various methods such as spoofing. To be secure on public Wi-Fi, always use IPBurger VPN. IPBurger VPN uses best in class encryption standard – the AES 256 bit to encrypt your internet traffic and tunnel it through a secure server till it reaches its destination. This encryption ensures your internet traffic is not visible to prying eyes, such scammers.