What is phishing?
Phishing is a type of online fraud where criminals send fake emails or set up fake websites that mimic legitimate ones in order to trick people into giving them personal information such as passwords, credit card numbers, or bank account information.
How can you recognize phishing emails?
Phishing emails often look like they come from a legitimate source, such as a well-known company or website. They may also include threats or a sense of urgency to try to get you to act quickly without thinking. For example, an email may say that your account will be closed unless you click on a link and enter your login information.
Some other things to look for that may indicate an email is a phishing attempt include:
- Typos or grammatical errors
- The email is addressed to “Dear Customer” or something similar instead of using your name
- The sender’s email address doesn’t match the name of the company they’re claiming to be from
- The email contains attachments that you weren’t expecting
If you suspect an email may be a phishing attempt, don’t click on any links or open any attachments. Instead, delete the email and report it to the company that it claimed to be from.
How can you protect yourself from phishing attacks?
There are a few things you can do to protect yourself from phishing attacks:
- Never click on links in emails, even if they look legitimate. Instead, type the website’s address into your browser directly.
- Don’t enter personal or financial information into websites unless you are certain they are legitimate. Look for signs that a website is secure, such as a URL that starts with “https” and a closed padlock icon.
- Keep your software and anti-virus programs up to date.
- Be cautious of any email or website that asks you to verify your account or login information. Legitimate companies will not do this.
If you do accidentally click on a phishing link or enter your information into a fake website, act quickly to minimize the damage. Change your passwords on any accounts that may have been compromised and monitor your accounts for unusual activity. You should also report the phishing attack to the company that was impersonated and to the FTC.
Stay safe while browsing the Internet.