We’ve all gotten plenty of spam emails, but have you heard of ‘phishing’?
I’ll give you a hint, they’re basically the same thing. One important difference, however, is that phishing emails, and even texts, are actively trying to steal your information. The Oxford Dictionary defines phishing as “the fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.”
In the last few years, phishing emails have gotten clever and now go beyond just asking for your password or social security number outright. For example, a scammer may send an email that appears to come from within your company, or from an automated Netflix account. You may have even received a spam text telling you that your phone is receiving too many spam messages, and to reply to make them stop! They’ll tell you that your payment information has declined and to re-enter it by following a link, or they may pose as a member of your own company, asking you to confirm a password or other personal information. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center reported that people lost $57 million to phishing schemes in 2019.
Luckily for us, there are some pretty easy ways to tell if a message is legitimate.
If you do receive what you believe to be a phishing email, don’t panic! Receiving a phishing or spam email does not mean that hackers already have your information, but they do want it! Always check where the message came from, do not open any unexpected attachments, and always navigate to the website in question from your browser, not via a link. If you receive a suspicious email to your company account, notify your IT department immediately.
Happy Internet Safety Month! Be careful out there!
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