The method of phishing has been used by hackers for as long as emails were commonly utilized as a means of sending and receiving messages. “Phishing is the attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and, indirectly, money), often for malicious reasons, by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.”
For the past few months I have personally noticed a huge increase in phishing attempts on my personal accounts and would like to extend this warning to everyone. as explained above, phishing is a means by which hackers disguise some form of electronic communication (mostly emails) so as to obtain your personal information for their malicious purpose. Just this morning I got yet another such email from a hacker trying to disguise him/her self as a PayPal (see email below).
This phishing attempt was a bit easier for me to spot as compared to previous phishing attempts because it was sent to a large list of contacts, and the email was a bit off in terms of how it was constructed, but I have come across some phishing attempts that I personally had to acknowledge that they were very well crafted.
The phishing attempt above was also sent to my email recently by a hacker, you can see that the sender’s email address was definitely not close to looking official, so I spotted it quite easily as well. These are just two of the recent phishing attempts sent to my personal email, both were targeting my PayPal account, but I have received others in the past that were targeting other financial accounts.
Usually the aim of fishing is to rob the victim of cash which means that these attacks will largely target financial institutions, so be extremely vigilant when you receive email especially from your banks.
How To Spot And Avoid Phishing Attempts
Below is a list of ten things that you should look out for which will almost always help you spot a phishing attempt:
- The message contains a mismatched URL
- URLs contain a misleading domain name
- The message contains poor spelling and grammar
- The message asks for personal information
- The offer seems too good to be true
- You didn’t initiate the action
- You’re asked to send money to cover expenses
- The message makes unrealistic threats
- The message appears to be from a government agency
- Something just doesn’t look right
The ten tips listed above were first recommended by techrepublic, most are self explanatory, but if you need more information feel free to head on over to the article on techrepublic.com where you will get a more detailed explanation of each.
I really hope this information was helpful, do feel free to share this with friends and family, and remember to be extremely cautious when you open emails presumably from trustworthy financial institutions.
Always double check using the list above as a guide, and if anything seems off do not hesitate to contact the assumed sender (your financial institution) via phone call to verify the authenticity of the email. If it is a phishing attempt, then delete it.