When you hear the word phishing, you might not even know what the term actually means – but it is very possible that you are amongst the 23% who have fallen victim to this form of cybercrime.
Fraudsters use phishing to trick us into providing crucial personal details, such as passwords or bank details. We’ve all been there – you receive an email from a suspicious account that is posing as your personal bank, asking you to complete a form that involves providing your full bank details or to open an attachment. So many of us have responded to these types of email and as a result, we end up with a string of problems that usually result in having our devices infected with viruses, forcing us to cancel our bankcards or alternatively, having our money taken before we realise it was a scam.
Reports have shown that phishing is responsible for two thirds of electronic crimes. Once criminals have access to your personal details, they have a scary amount of knowledge about you and your online security may be lost entirely. It’s important to be aware of these types of online crime so we have compiled a quick list of important tips for avoiding phishing in future;
- Big companies will never ask for details over email or over the phone. If you are ever unsure about an email that you have received, call the phone number provided on your bank statement or other official document rather than one texted or emailed to you on suspicious account.
- Mark a suspicious phishing email as spam so that your spam filter automatically detects them in future.
- Never provide important information or respond to a message from an unknown source.
- Know the signs – fraudsters are unlikely to know your full name so may address you in a generic way with an opening like “Dear Customer”.
- Beware of “spearphishing” – this is when criminals use personal information in their approach in order to gain your trust in their email.
- Phishing emails often contain odd spellings or capitals in the subject box as a way to swerve spam filters.
- Ensure that you use different passwords for each online platform so that if you ever are a victim of phishing, the criminals won’t have access to every single online account that you belong to through one password that you provided.