Identify a Phishing Scam

Edited by Ian Gabriel T. Tolledo, Eng, Lynn, Anonymous and 1 other

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Introduction

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Have you ever been a victim of a phishing scam? If you have, then you know how terrible and dangerous this type of scam is. Being a victim to this cyber-crime can make anyone think twice when checking out links on their internet or answering pop-ups in their browsers. All internet users can be a potential target. It only takes a few minutes on a bad day for anyone to be fooled. So how will you know if you are being "phished"?

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Imagine that the internet is an ocean, you are the fish and the scam artists are the fisherman who fishes for any personal information you have that they can steal - thus the term "phishing". Cyber-criminals solicit personal data from unsuspecting users via the internet and sells this information to other criminals who use it for financial gain. So everything you have - personal IDs, card numbers, password and PINs are in constant danger when you're online. This wiki will teach you how to identify and avoid being "phished" by these clever culprits.

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Reality Check

  1. 1
    Scenario One.
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    You suddenly receive an email from someone you don't know saying that you have won an electronic raffle (which you did not know), then it is a good indication that it is a scam. No matter how legit the email seems to be, do not immediately disclose your information. If you really must investigate, you can always look at the link they've given (do not open it!), hover your mouse over the link and check the bottom left of your screen. If you see an obscure looking web address there, it's a scam. Don't fall for it.
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  2. 2
    Scenario Two.
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    Your bank suddenly sent you an email alert regarding an "error", which prompts you to change or confirm your account information, despite having seamless banking experience in the past years. Check the sender of the email. Does it look like a legitimate name? Does it have a subtitle attached to it? (e.g. Operations Manager, Customer Relations, Account Specialist, etc.) If you are worried about it, then you can just call your bank and confirm whether you have a problematic account. If they responded that nothing is wrong, then the email is 100 percent scam.
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  3. 3
    Scenario Three.
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    Since the internet has become used to "too good" scams, phishers sometimes use the opposite approach. If the email you receive sounds too bad too be true, it most likely is! An example would be an email having a message which says that an unexpected large payment from your account has been processed by your bank. The culprits are preying on your confusion and potential decision to fix the problem immediately and providing details of your account.
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More on URLs

URLs or Uniform Resource Locator is a web's full address/name. It can instantly tell you or at least give you a hint if you are being scammed. You can find it on most browsers at the top of the window you use for web browsing. The text inside the box always begin with http:// and https:/. The text that comes after that is the host name, like /VisiHow.com/. However, it can also contain extra words up front like /cyberx.VisiHow.com/. We call that a sub-domain.

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The problem is, anyone who owns the main .com (or .org, .bet, etc.) can make as many other sub-domains as they can. Cyber phishers use a simple trick to include the name of your bank in front of their web address name. Now say your bank's website name is Securegate.com. A scammer can use Securegate.nationalbank.com, which looks very trustworthy. You must remember that your bank can own any names ending in Securegate.com but the owner of nationalbank.com can put any name in front of nationalbank.com - in this case the name of your bank.

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Using this strategy in order to prevent yourself from being scammed entails that you clearly understand the differences between Securegate.nationalbank.com and nationalbank.Securegate.com. If these two websites look identical to you, then you are very vulnerable to phishing scams. This can be an extra problem if the scammers use nationalbank.comSecuregate.com as their address. It may start with your bank's name, but it still a scam.

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Future Preparations

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While many precautions and tips are available online to help users avoid being scammed, still some falls for it unexpectedly. Many blame users for falling for this kind of scam. It will help you greatly if you take a moment to understand, comprehend deeply, decipher if you must but don't fall for phishing scams. If you do you're faced with great dilemma. Your identity, savings and important account information can dissipate in an instant.

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  1. 1
    Passwords.
    As an extra precaution, never use an easy password. Remember to use alphanumerical passwords to make it harder for your accounts to get hacked by phishers if you ever accidentally provided your account information. Never use the same password for different accounts. Also, do not use your username as your password. Predictable passwords like your first name, "qwerty", your cellphone number, pet's name and 12345 are also no-nos.
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  2. 2
    Spam mails.
    You can block a sender of a malicious mail by selecting the "spam" option in your email options. This will sort future emails from the same scammer into the spam folder. Be wary of messages from unrecognized senders and email sender's name that aren't personalized.
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  3. 3
    Downloads.
    Refrain from downloading pirated and "free" contents like music, video, and software as majority of these materials come with malware, software and links that are used as phishing tactics. Unknown attachments in emails from unknown senders should be avoided too.
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  4. 4
    Pop-ups.
    Never, ever, ever enter personal information in a pop-up screen nor should you click links in a pop-up screen. Refrain from copying web addresses yo your browser from pop-ups.
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  5. 5
    Protection.
    Always check to see if your firewall is on and check your antivirus software for updates. Lastly, check your online accounts and update them regularly to ensure that no phisher can leech its contents.
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  6. 6
    Anti-spam software.
    Fighting web phishermen is always easier when you use a third party software, but you have to make sure that you use a legit and proven software, try MailWasher. Hailed by thousands of internet users and organizations. What makes it the more appealing is its FREE. Find it here: [1]
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Article Info

Categories : Networking

Recent edits by: Anonymous, Lynn, Eng

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