Everyday somebody you know will get the chance to become a multimillionaire. So before you start cracking open the champagne bottles to celebrate, please be aware you have more chance of placing a winning bet on USA to win the World Cup. Welcome to the world of Phishing.
Years ago fishing was something you would do on the weekend with your father or older brothers. You would place bait on the end of your fishing line hoping fish would bite and then reel them in. Phishing comes in various guises but it can be similar to fishing, in that bait is used to get you to bite and if you do you are then reeled in.
Phishing is nearly always initiated by email but it sometimes occurs on online dating websites and websites where you can buy and sell almost anything. Phishing is also one of the major causes of online fraud and the spreading of Malware, Ransomware and Spyware.
Thousands of these emails are sent out and if one person bites they are then reeled in.
Again thousands of emails are sent and a few people will be reeled in.
You get an email like the 2 above claiming there is a problem with your eBay or PayPal account and you are asked to click a link to rectify the problem. The emails at first glance appear genuine but if you look at them closely you may spot grammatical and or spelling errors. You may also notice that the email address they are sent from is not as it seems. The email may say it comes from Yahoo Lottery Claims and the actual email address is hidden from plain view so as not to make you suspicious. When you click on the link provided in the email, one of two things can happen. You can either end up installing Malware, Ransomware or Spyware on your computer. But what is most likely to occur is you are sent to a website which looks genuine but is in fact not the real deal. Thankfully up to date browsers can now spot this as you can see below.
Phishing is used to steal your identity and if your identity is stolen it can be used to perpetuate fraud amongst other things. It can also be used to take money from you in various ways including taking control of your PayPal account or asking you for an administration fee to process your lottery win. To make sure you are not a victim of phishing use the following 10 point checklist.
1 If it’s too good to be true it is.
2 If you don’t trust your best friend with your financial details why would you trust a stranger with them.
3 If you never entered a lottery why have you suddenly won?.
4 Have different passwords for everything, so that if one password is compromised nothing else will be.
5 If you get an email claiming to be from your bank asking you to log in and change your password. Check with your bank that the email is genuine.
6 If you are offered money and have to pay an administration fee to get it walk away and if Western Union is mentioned in any emails walk away as nothing can be traced.
7 Keep your virus checker and computer operating software up to date and always use latest versions of browsers.
8 If you get a suspicious email from someone you know, the chances are it is, even if it’s from a family member. Send them an email asking if they just emailed you and tell them what was in the email.
9 If you are using an email program that has an address book, add the contact firstname.lastname@example.org, so that if your computer gets compromised it can’t automatically send out emails. This is because email@example.com is your first email contact in your address book and as it is not a genuine email address nothing can be sent to it and this also stops other emails being sent.
10 If you get an email offering you the chance to work from home working for Google, walk away.
The checklist above won’t guarantee you 100% security but it will help you sleep more soundly at night.