Secure IT: Identifying and Avoiding Phishing Scams

Phishingis a cybercrime in which a target is contacted by email, text message, or phoneby someone posing as a representative of a legitimate business or entity withthe intention of attaining sensitive data, such as banking and credit cardinformation, passwords, and more. People lose millions of dollars every year asa result of these scams. It is important to recognize the traits of phishingscams and know how to protect yourself against them.

Identification: Is this a Phishing Scam?

The first step in the fight against this cybercrime is toidentify the characteristics of phishing. Phishing messages appear to be from acompany you know and trust, but there are some signs to help you identifyscams. Here are a few red flags to look for:

  • The message indicates there is some type ofproblem with your account or your payment information
  • You are being asked to update personalinformation or click on a link to make a payment
  • The email’s subject line is irrelevant or doesnot match the message content
  • An attachment you were not expecting is includedwith the message
  • When hovering over a link in the message, thelink-to address is for a different website
  • The email seems out of the ordinary or has oddgrammar or spelling errors

Protection: Fighting the Phishing Scam

Phishing scams are abundant and have been around nearly aslong as the internet has. These deceptive practices are a nuisance, butfortunately, there are ways to avoid becoming a victim of phishing.

  • Keep personal information to yourself. As a rule,you should never share personal, financial, or other sensitive information overthe internet.
  • Be sure to know what you are clicking on.Hovering over a link that seems suspicious before clicking on it is a good wayto confirm the link will take you where it is supposed to lead.
  • Keep tabs on your online accounts and changeyour passwords regularly.
  • Verify the site is secure. Ensure the URL beginswith “https:” prior to entering any of your information on a website. If thesite is secure, a closed lock icon should also appear near the address bar.
  • Implement updates. Security updates are releasedin response to vulnerabilities that hackers and other criminals have identifiedand exploited. If an update is available, you should install it as soon aspossible.

Some phishing scams are sophisticated and look real. The most effective tactics to fight phishing are education and awareness. If you understand what phishing is, and how to identify it, you are better prepared to protect yourself and your data. The experts at AJTC stay ahead of all the latest technology trends and have the specialized skills to protect your company’s data.  Contact AJTC today to learn more about IT security and other services. You may also visit AJTC here or call 708.942.8200.

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