|Phishing (pronounced "fishing") is a kind of identity theft which is growing in popularity amongst hackers. By using fraudulent websites and false emails, perpetrators attempt to steal your personal data - most commonly passwords and credit card information. Here are a few tips on how to identify and avoid phishing attemps.|
Legitimate businesses will never request sensitive information via email, and most will tell you that they won't ask for your information unless you're the one contacting them.
Hover your mouse over any links embedded in the body of the email. If the link address looks weird, don’t click on it.
Oftentimes the URL in a phishing message will appear to be perfectly valid. However, if you hover your mouse over the top of the URL, you should see the actual hyperlinked address. If the hyperlinked address is different from the address that is displayed, the message is probably fraudulent or malicious.
Never use links in an email to connect to a website unless you are absolutely sure they are authentic. Instead, open a new browser window and type the known URL directly into the address bar. Often a phishing website will look identical to the original - look at the address bar to make sure that this is the case.
Phishers are extremely good at what they do. Just because an email has convincing brand logos, language, and a seemingly valid email address, does not mean that it’s legitimate. Be skeptical when it comes to your email messages—if it looks even remotely suspicious, don’t open it.
Watch out for emails with:
- Poor grammar and typos
- A sense of urgency, you have to act NOW! Phishers like to use scare tactics.
- Generic looking requests for information. (Dear Sir/Madam)