Today, anyone with an email account has heard the term “phishing”. But what is a phishing email? As defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary, “phishing is a scam by which an internet user is duped into revealing personal or confidential information which the scammer can use illicitly.”
If you check your email spam inbox, you’re bound to find hundreds of these (but don’t open them!). They can do serious damage to your computer system and your private information.
Phishing can pose a major threat to both individuals and organizations and with it, cyber insurance has become an absolute necessity for organizations looking to protect themselves, their information and their customers or clients. ProWriters is here to provide cyber insurance to defend you from these hackers or scammers and walk you through the recovery process in the event of a breach. Our optimized and streamlined processes save you time while providing the best possible customer service and claims experience in the event of an attack.
While it’s difficult to determine how to prevent email phishing attacks altogether, there are a number of methods you can use to safeguard your private information from these scams.
How to Protect Yourself from Phishing Attacks
- Learn to Identify Them
So what makes phishing emails so dangerous? Their ability to trick you into believing they’re legitimate. Learning how to identify phishing emails is the very first defense. Scammers use phishing techniques to dupe internet users into thinking they’re receiving a message from a legitimate person or organization, like a store, employer, or even a bank. When internet users fall for this and open the message or click on a link provided by the phishing message, they’re putting themselves and their information at risk. These messages can be largely deceiving and even include the real company logo to look like a legitimate message. So how are you supposed to spot a phishing email? Here are a number of red flags you should look for:
- Check the Subject Line
Many phishing emails contain “clickbait” subject lines to lure you in. These can be notices of an overdue invoice, account issues or other warnings that make you double-take.
- Check the Greeting
As scammers don’t (yet) have your information, phishing emails will usually have a generic greeting like “to whom it may concern,” or “dear customer.”
- Check for Grammar & Spelling Errors
Many phishing emails will have a number of spelling and grammatical errors. If you notice these, it’s worth taking a deeper look into the email before clicking on any links.
- Check the Subject Line
- Embedded Links
The content of phishing emails often has a link they’re trying to get you to click to trigger the scam. Sometimes they’re trying to pull push payment fraud. But what is push payment fraud? This is a tactic to try to dupe you into making a payment to the wrong individual or organization. Before you click on any link, hover your mouse over this link to review the site and make sure it’s legitimate.
- Keep Your Computer’s Security Software Up to Date
Keeping your system’s security software up to date is important for reasons beyond just phishing. As cyber attacks evolve and grow every day, your system’s defenses will have to do the same. Setting your system to update automatically whenever new updates are available is best to make sure you’re as protected as possible.
- Contact the Individual or Organization Directly
If you receive an email that appears legitimate, but you still feel suspicious or a funny feeling, it’s best to trust that intuition. Pick up the phone, send an email, or reach out to that individual or organization to verify the validity of the message. More times than not, you’re going to realize that you were right to follow your gut and do a little additional research before potentially exposing yourself to a phishing attack.
As internet hackers and scammers learn new tricks and methods to infiltrate computer systems, it’s important to stay up to date on the latest security measures and tricks to protect yourself or your organization from possible phishing emails and attacks.
For more information, contact a ProWriters expert today to learn more about what you can do to shield yourself from cyber attacks. Call us at (484) 321-2335 with any questions.