A phishing scam is social engineering that manipulates people into giving login or financial information. Once the scammers obtain logins or financial information, they have complete access to wreak havoc on their target’s life. The only way to steer clear of a phishing scam is to learn how to identify them. These scams use several methods to obtain secure information and are getting craftier and smarter daily.
Social engineering attacks take many forms and are performed anywhere people interact, whether online, in person, or over the phone. Internet users can avoid most phishing scams by verifying the identity of the party attempting to communicate with them.
Spelling and Grammar Errors
Phishing scams are notorious for their spelling errors. Spelling errors are often a major red flag for malware. If an email or instant message has a spelling error, flag it and report it to an I.T. specialist.
Grammatical errors are common in phishing emails. Why is this? Often, these emails are written by non-native speakers and contain grammar and spelling errors. Fortunately, most businesses turn on spellchecking on their outbound email messages, and most browsers have to autocorrect. A professional-looking email should be error-free.
Common Phishing Scams
Some phishing scammers use the disguise of an upper management employee in an employee’s company. They will use their fake credentials to look like they are authorized to ask for an employee’s direct deposit info or logins.
Another example is a ransomware email demanding that the recipient of the email pay a ransom, or else the phisher will release personal or fabricated information that will damage the recipient’s image.
Fake advertisements are one of the most common ways hackers access an internet user’s computer. Scammers begin their ad fraud campaign by purchasing an ad spot on a reputable website. They will attract clicks to their ad by making too-good-to-be-true claims like “Our investment firm is guaranteed to 10x the value of your life savings in 50 days!”. Someone will be attracted to that fake advertisement, click on it, and schedule a call with one of their quote-on-quote representatives. That representative who is a scammer will then claim they are with a reputable investment firm and present the recipient with fake credentials. The recipient may feel at ease after receiving the scammer’s bogus credentials and will be obliged to provide them with their banking information. Violla, the scammer, now has complete access to drain the recipient’s finances.
Spot a phishing scam by looking at the domain name of a website. Phishing scammers will create a website that almost sounds identical and looks like a website people use often. For example, in 2010, phishing scammers created a website to look precisely like Chase Bank’s website. The domain name of the scam site was “chasebanking.com,” and it looked almost exactly like the legitimate website “chase.com.” People would type their basic login information to the scam site, which would grant scammers access to drain the money from the accounts of individuals who got scammed.
According to CNBC, scammers stole $29.8 billion from Americans in 2021. Everyone who uses the internet needs to learn how to spot scams, so they don’t become a part of that statistic. Talk with an I.T. specialist at Partners Plus to learn more about social engineering and internet scams.