Remember when someone said fishing and it simply meant sitting by the water and angling for some actual fish? Well, these days it’s a lot less relaxing and fun than that.
When we use the term “phishing,” we are of course referring to digital and often sophisticated attempts to access personal data or restricted information of an individual or an organization. This form of cybercrime is often committed through email, telephone or text message and can be extremely difficult to spot when it is being attempted.
How do you differentiate between a legitimate communication or a phishing attempt? Well here are some things to look out for:
- The scammer may say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts
- They may claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information
- They sometimes include a fake invoice as an attachment
- The message may include a link and ask you to make a payment
- They might say you’re eligible to register for a government refund
- And they might even offer you a coupon for something “free”
In most of these scenarios, a favourite tactic among cybercriminals is to use urgent language to make you feel as though there is no time to lose – “This deal is for a limited time”, “We need you to confirm your account details so we can stop anyone else accessing it”, “You have missed a payment and we will take legal action” are just some examples of the sense of urgency that scammers will try to create.
If you receive a communication with this type of language or offers detailed above, it’s best to either ignore them or go direct to the source (your bank, employer, etc.) so you can determine if they are legitimate or not.
In this digital age, we all need to be vigilant and stay alert. Especially with more and more of us working from home because of the global COVID-19 pandemic. However, if we all follow the tips laid out here and stay on our toes, then we can help to make sure that the only “phishing” going on in the world stays by the water!