How to Spot a Phishing Scam: Red Flags to Watch Out For

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With so much of our personal and financial information accessible online, it’s no surprise cybercriminals are employing increasingly sophisticated phishing scams. In 2020 alone, phishing attempts rose by almost 350%. While tech-savvy thieves may design convincing fakes, there are some tell-tale signs you can use to identify a potential phishing scam before it’s too late.

One of the biggest red flags is receiving an unsolicited email, text or phone call claiming to be from a legitimate organization like a bank or retailer. Reputable companies don’t cold call asking for private login details or payment information. Be suspicious of any communication out of the blue claiming your account is restricted or there’s a problem that requires your immediate attention.

Carefully inspect the sender’s email address and domain name. Phishers often use addresses nearly identical to companies they’re impersonating, adding or removing one letter. Hover over hyperlinks before clicking to see where they’re actually directing. And be wary of emails containing spelling or grammatical errors, as they’re a sign of a rushed fake.

If a message claims to be from tech support or your bank’s security team, resist the urge to call numbers or click links provided in the email itself. Instead, contact the organization through official contact methods listed on your statements or their verified website. Legitimate companies won’t demand sensitive data like PINs or full account passwords over email either.

Websites used in phishing schemes may also seem suspicious. Check for incorrect spelling of domains, unusually long URLs with random characters, or a lack of HTTPS security. Never enter private info into pages asking you to update or verify details all at once. Real businesses verify customers through encrypted systems, not pop-up message boxes.

Staying vigilant and keeping hacking techniques top of mind is key to avoiding harmful phishing schemes. While technology helps catch many malicious messages, human awareness remains one of the strongest tools to spot a fake. By spending a few moments vetting unrecognized emails and knowing what red flags to look for, you can protect both your personal security and finances.

In conclusion, cybercriminals are constantly devising new phishing tactics. Take cues from this article to put safeguards in place against revealing sensitive data to scammers impersonating legitimate companies through phony communication. With awareness and caution, you can thwart would-be thieves trying to access your online accounts and accounts under false pretenses. Read more about Curtis Mcnulty here.

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Isabella Jordan

The author Isabella Jordan