Your Guide to Avoiding Phishing Scams

In this digital age, where cyber threats lurk around every virtual corner, you must arm yourself with the knowledge to protect your personal information.

Phishing is a deceptive technique cybercriminals use to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information, such as passwords, credit card details, or social security numbers. Typically, they mascquerade as trustworthy entities, such as banks, e-commerce sites, or even your favorite social media platforms. These fraudsters rely on psychological manipulation, creating a sense of urgency or fear to elicit quick responses.

Spotting the Red Flags:

  • Scrutinize the Sender: Be wary of emails from unfamiliar or suspicious email addresses. Double-check the domain name, as scammers often use variations or misspellings of legitimate ones.
  • Poor Grammar and Spelling Errors: Phishing emails are notorious for containing grammar mistakes, misspelled words, or awkwardly phrased sentences. Legitimate organizations typically have professional communications.
  • Urgency or Threats: Beware of emails that create a sense of urgency, threatening consequences if you don’t act immediately. Genuine organizations rarely pressure you into hasty actions.
  • Suspicious Attachments or Links: Hover over links without clicking to reveal the destination URL. If it looks suspicious or redirects you to unfamiliar websites, steer clear.
  • Unsecured Websites: Always check for a secure connection when dealing with sensitive information. Look for “https://” in the URL and a padlock icon in the browser’s address bar.

The Do’s:

  • Educate Yourself: Stay informed about the latest phishing techniques and trends. Knowledge is your most potent weapon against scammers.
  • Verify Legitimacy: Independently confirm the legitimacy of emails or websites by contacting the organization by reaching out directly using official contact details.
  • Keep Software Updated: Regularly update your operating system, web browsers, and antivirus software to protect against known vulnerabilities.
  • Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Enable 2FA whenever possible. This adds an extra layer of security, making it harder for scammers to access your accounts.
  • Use Strong, Unique Passwords: Create strong passwords. A best practice is to use unrelated words in a longer (minimum 12 characters) phrase and avoid reusing passwords across different platforms.

The Don’ts:

  • Don’t Click Suspicious Links: Avoid clicking on links in emails or messages from unknown sources. When in doubt, verify independently.
  • Don’t Share Personal Information: Legitimate organizations rarely ask for sensitive data via email. Avoid sharing personal or financial information through unfamiliar channels.
  • Don’t Trust Caller ID: Scammers can spoof caller ID to make it appear that they’re calling from a reputable organization. Don’t rely solely on caller ID for verification.
  • Don’t Enable Macros: Be cautious when opening email attachments, especially those that prompt you to enable macros. Malicious macros can execute harmful code.
  • Don’t Panic: Phishing attempts often use fear and urgency to exploit victims. Take a moment to pause, analyze, and verify before taking any action.

These are important tips for not only work but for your family too. You can never be too cautious regarding security, and ongoing training is the best way to keep it top of mind. If you want continuing training for your company or need help setting up 2FA, ATCOM can help you with a tailored training program that keeps security trop of mind.

Written By Rhonda Craycraft


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