What’s a phishing scam? Phishing means that someone is trying to trick you into giving away sensitive information. They’ll then use this sensitive information to steal your identity, charge up your credit cards, transfer money out of your bank accounts, or other devious things.
Most phishing scams occur through either emails or phone calls. Phishing companies are always changing their tactics and trying new things. They’ll do whatever it takes to make you believe that they’re legitimate and just trying to help you out. Obviously phishing is illegal, so they don’t really care what is required to rob you of your hard-earned money and reputation.
So what can you do to protect yourself? Luckily, there are a lot of things you can watch out for. Here are a few of the big ones.
Poor Grammar and Spelling
Phishing companies are often based overseas, where the primary language isn’t English. This is a good thing, as it leads to many misspellings and errors in the emails that they send out.
If you get an email that looks like it’s from Facebook, Twitter or some other well-known business but has spelling and grammar errors, there’s a VERY good chance it’s a phishing scam. These companies are large enough that they have armies of editors and top quality writers- they aren’t going to make these simply grammar and spelling mistakes.
Links in Emails
Probably the easiest way to spot a phishing scam is if you receive an email from a notable company and they ask you to log in through their link. Even though many legitimate companies do this, it’s also a very easy way for phishing companies to deceive you and steal your login information.
If you see an email like this and it asks you to log in (to Facebook for example), go to the main website and log in there. So instead of clicking the link in the email, just go to facebook.com and log in.
Phishing emails often have some kind of threat inside. For example, it might say that there have been changes to their terms and conditions, and you need to go log in within 24 hours or your account will be closed. They might even say that someone tried to log in from another location, so now you need to log in (through their link of course) and make sure everything is okay.
Scammers do this so that you take action NOW without thinking about it. Just like a salesman, they realize that the more you think about it, the less likely you’re going to do anything about it.
Strange Phone Calls
It used to be that phishing companies would call you claiming to be your bank. They might ask you to tell them some sensitive information for one reason or another. Even though some still do this, times have changed.
Right now, most phishing phone calls claim to be from a company that will help you with your computer. They will try to gain your trust, then ask for your username and password or have you go to a certain website and download software for free. If you download the software, they’ve won because it will let them track you and see basically anything you type into your computer.
This article isn’t meant to scare you- just inform. Always be careful before giving out sensitive information or clicking links in emails.