Scammers use email or SMS messages to get you to provide personal information. They may attempt to steal passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. They could acquire access to your email, bank account, or other accounts if they obtain such information. Every day, scammers attempt thousands of phishing attacks like this, and they’re usually successful.
Scammers change their tactics all the time, but there are several telltale indications that might help you spot a phishing email or text message.
Phishing emails and SMS messages may appear to be from a company you’re familiar with or trust. They may appear to be from a bank, credit card business, social networking site, online payment website or app, or online retailer.
Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment.
Four Steps To Protect Yourself From Phishing
- Use security software to keep your computer safe. Set the software to automatically update so that it can handle any new security threats.
- Set your phone’s software to update automatically to keep it safe. These upgrades may provide you with vital security protection.
- Multi-factor authentication is a good way to keep your accounts safe. Some accounts provide additional security by needing two or more credentials to log in. Multi-factor authentication is the term for this. There are two types of additional credentials you’ll need to log in to your account:
- Something you have, such as a passcode or a security key obtained through an authentication software.
- Something identifying you, such as a scan of your fingerprint, retina, or face.
- Back up your data to keep it safe. Make a backup of your data and make sure it isn’t connected to your home network. Your PC files can be copied to an external hard drive or cloud storage. Back up your phone’s data as well.
What To Do if You Suspect a Phishing Attack
Answer this question if you receive an email or text message asking you to click on a link or open an attachment: Do I have an account with the firm or know the person who contacted me?
It could be a phishing hoax if the answer is “No.” Reread the guidelines in How to spot phishing and check for symptoms of a phishing scam to refresh your memory. If you see them, report them and then delete the message.
If “Yes,” contact the company using a phone number or website that you know is legitimate. Not the data contained in the email. Malicious software can be installed via attachments and URLs.
What To Do if You Responded to a Phishing Email
Go to IdentityTheft.gov if you believe a scammer has your personal information, such as your Social Security number, credit card number, or bank account number. There, you’ll find detailed instructions for taking action based on the information you’ve lost.
Update your computer’s security software if you believe you clicked on a link or opened an attachment that downloaded malicious software. After that, perform a scan.
How To Report Phishing
Report any phishing emails or text messages you receive. The information you provide may be useful in combating scammers.
Step 1: If you receive a phishing email, forward it to email@example.com of the Anti-Phishing Working Group. If you receive a phishing SMS message, report it to SPAM immediately (7726).
Step 2: File a report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.