Phishing is one of the most common cybersecurity schemes, and it happens all over the world every day. Anyone can become a victim of phishing in seconds. Learn how to protect yourself by understanding the signs of a phishing attempt and the steps you’ll need to take if you receive a suspicious email.

 

How to recognize phishing

Even with more clever techniques on the rise, phishing emails, messages, and calls tend to display clues that prove they’re fraudulent.

Scammers often use a familiar company’s logo and name. However, the email addresses and images will most likely appear “off” in some fashion. The logo might be off-center or a different color. The company name might be in the local part of the email address.

Generic greetings are another giveaway, such as “Hello, friend.” A legitimate company will most likely address you by name.

 

 

Common types of phishing techniques

Bad actors have resorted to using several techniques to attack individuals and businesses alike. Some of the most common techniques you should look out for are:

  • Email phishing
  • Whaling
  • Deceptive phishing
  • Spear phishing
  • Pharming
  • Vishing
  • Smishing
  • Search engine phishing
  • Angler phishing

 

Steps to protect yourself from phishing

Protecting yourself from phishing will help you prevent cybersecurity attacks. There are several steps you can take preemptively, including:

  • Using cybersecurity software
  • Setting up multi-factor authentication
  • Turning on automatic updates for devices on your network
  • Backing up your data often
  • Training your staff to look for signs of phishing
  • Incorporating encryption services

 

Questions to ask if you suspect a phishing attack

If you suspect phishing, you should examine the email before clicking links or responding. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I know this company or person?
  • Are there any signs of phishing techniques?
  • Are they requesting my or my company’s sensitive information?
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What should you do if you Receive or respond to a phishing email

If you believe it’s a phishing email, do not enter any personal information, click any links, or respond. Report the email as directed by your organization and delete it as soon as possible. If you responded to a phishing email, contact the appropriate departments at your company or managed IT service. You should change all of your passwords immediately.

 

How to report phishing

If you received a phishing email, there are several ways you can report it. First, you’ll want to report it to your IT provider. Outside of this resource, you can also report phishing to:

  • U.S. Department of Justice
  • Federal Trade Commission
  • Anti-Phishing Working Group
  • Your email servicer (Outlook, Google)

 

 

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