Fishing vs. Phishing
Fishing and phishing, one is fun to catch and the other catches you!
Wait, what? Fishing is of course an all-time favorite hobby of mine but in todays all connected digital world we have to be vigilante to Phishing scams. “What is Phishing” you ask. Well according to the Oxford dictionary, phishing: the fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individual to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers. To the untrained eye it’s easy to fall prey to something like this. One day you get an email from what looks like a colleague or someone you know stating that you didn’t pay your bill or invoice, and they are going to cancel your account or cancel your order or turn off your electricity or something like that. So, your instinct is to immediately fix the issue and send your credit card info again or give them your banking information. Sometimes they may even ask you to click a link to give you an easy, pay now option. I mean its easy to fall victim, what’s so unusual about clicking that link to pay now? Almost everyone and anything you can pay for or do can be done online and thru some sort of link. We live in an all connected digital world, but that’s how you become a victim. You send that information and next thing you know your account is overdrawn, you’re missing money, and things are being purchased on your dime. Worse yet: you click that link and now someone is on your pc copying files and documents directly from your computer. It can be scary and invasive to say the least but there are ways you can help fight it. Here are some things you can look out for:
1. Name or email of the sender. If you don’t know the person or persons sending you the suspicious email, then don’t open anything from them. Even if they are threatening you. If you do know the person, don’t email them back asking if they sent the email. Instead pick up the phone and call them directly.
2. Check for typos. Scammers have a tendency to be from other countries where English is not their primary language and the writing reflects that.
3. Don’t send that information. Most legitimate businesses have a normal channel in which payments are received and processed, even late payments. Even when asking for sensitive or personal information, there are normal ways to share and provide it. Anyone asking you to deviate from those normal channels should always raise suspicions.
4. Don’t give into the threats. They try to scare you by saying something will go to collections or your account was hacked or if you don’t do it now, they will turn off your electricity. Again, most legitimate businesses do not make you verify anything to stop whatever is going on. Your bank won’t send you an email to verify your account because it was hacked or it was overdrawn.
5. Hover over links. This one is tricky to do but if you hover over the links provided, without clicking them you can see the website url where they are going. if you see something that doesn’t look right don’t click it.
6. Check you accounts. Stick to your normal channels when verifying information. For example, if you actually go to the bank to verify information, deposit checks, etc. and you get an email saying you need to verify via this link now. Well, that’s suspicious and since that’s not your normal way of doing things then it should raise questions.
Of course, these are just some tips to help you, but at the end of the day if you’re used to doing things a certain way and all of a sudden you need to deviate from that normalcy, question it. Be vigilant and don’t be afraid to verify and double check before you send information to anyone. Remember going and catching fish is way more fun than getting caught by a phishing scam.
If you suspect that you or your business has been targeted by a phishing scam, call our office at (915) 587-7902 for assistance.