Have you or someone you know ever received an email from a “Nigerian Prince”? I’m sure we’ve all come across these sorts of emails at some point of time or the other.
These attacks have continued to grow at alarming rates all around the world. People often end up losing thousands of dollars of their life’s savings at the hands of these scams. These scammers are getting smarter every year. They consistently find ways to send emails encouraging recipients to open, click and share harmful code. Losses due to phishing scams were estimated to be around $2.7 billion in 2018.
What are phishing scams?
Phishing scams are a way for scammers to acquire sensitive information from people. This is done through various ways like asking people to click on a link to win a huge prize, asking for banking details to send the winnings of a contest and so on. People often get caught up in the excitement of winning such a contest and end up sharing their personal details with the scammers.
Most phishing emails are also sent on behalf of large corporations with their branding present in the email as well. This has caused a lot of these large organizations to clearly mention on various platforms and communications that they do not run such contests and would never ask for the sensitive details being asked for by the scammers.
Most Common Phishing Techniques
Compromised Account: This type of phishing comes in the form of an email stating that the user’s account with organization has been compromised and that they must fill up forms and reset their password. User’s then panic and do as instructed and end up giving scammers access to their sensitive information. Legitimate organizations would never ask for your information in this manner.
Delivery Scam: Phishing of this kind involves asking for a user’s credit card information to deliver a product. Emails are often sent with the branding of popular eCommerce companies to make them believable. Beware of these kinds of emails especially if you haven’t purchased anything from the vendor.
Downloads: These phishing emails contain links to download malicious files disguised as an e-book or any other file that may be of interest to the user. Once the link is clicked, the malicious files is downloaded and can often lead to the scammers acquiring your personal information and misusing the data available on your device.
Invoicing: Invoicing involves scammers sending users fake invoices from banks or cell phone companies asking for a payment to be made. When the users provide their banking instructions on the link provided, they end up giving their information to these scammers who then use it to gain access to bank accounts.
In current times, more than any other, you must remain alert about these threats. One can often ignore them till they actually become victims of the same. Being aware and educating your family and friends about these threats can often be the difference between winning or losing the battle against these scammers.