How to protect yourself from phishing sites and emails

Phishing is one of the most common scams that the majority of people have experienced. It’s the act of using false information to obtain someone’s passwords, private information and money. Many people have received the classic email from a prince who needs your bank details in order to send large quantities of money. Although in 2019, everyone is fairly tech-savvy and can identify these scams, it still happens all over the internet. As technology develops, so does the complexity of these scams. We’ve put together a handy guide on how to protect yourself and always stay safe from phishing sites and emails.

Don’t open anything you aren’t expecting

It seems obvious but always think before opening an email. If your inbox is full, you may click on an email inadvertently. This could open yourself up to scams. If it’s not something you usually receive or aren’t expecting, be warier. Remember that banks will never ask for any personal details over email. If you receive an email of this nature, delete it and don’t reply. If you think your information has been compromised, contact your bank immediately.

Check spelling and grammar

Many phishing scams will have signs that they are fake. Bad spelling and grammar is a massive red flag. If in doubt, scan over the email and see how it reads. Official emails from legitimate companies will always use correct vocabulary. If the language or phrasing seems off, it’s likely to be a scam.

Be aware of what they’re saying

A lot of scammers use language that wouldn’t be appropriate if it was from an official sender. For example, a sense of urgency in action. A scammer would try to threaten the user with an account being shut down to try and encourage them to act immediately. Check the email to see if it’s a generic one which could be sent to anyone. Scammers often use “dear user/customer” instead of your actual name. This shows that it’s a mass email instead of you being contacted personally about an issue.

Don’t open attachments

No matter how tempting it is, don’t open those dodgy attachments. Unless you are absolutely expecting it and know what it is, opening an attachment can open your computer up to viruses. It’s also important you don’t reply to the scammer in any way.

Don’t open pop up screens

Another obvious one. Be aware when using the internet and don’t click on any pop-up screens. Your browser will usually inform you if the site you’re using is suspicious, so just remain savvy and stick to sites which you know are secure.

Look into phishing filters

Although it won’t totally eradicate the risk of phishing, it will reduce the amount you receive. These applications can be installed on both web pages and email services. Filters are a great way to add an extra level of protection.

Keep up to date with new techniques

New phishing techniques and scams are often being developed. Keep up to date with them so you won’t be fooled. If you find one that’s particularly prominent, share with friends and family members so they won’t get fooled either.

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