The Dangers of Phishing Scams and How to Avoid Them

As we all know, scams are dangerous. Hackers always have their way to get into your personal information, and phishing is one of their most common techniques.

The method involves creating a sophisticated platform, which could be an app or a website that looks legit and as professional as possible.

Their target is usually the elderly, or people who are not very familiar with phishing. They even never heard of it before. And that’s how dangerous phishing scams are.

Imagine this could happen to anybody, including your mom, dad, or grandparents. Sometimes, the adults who are not that very familiar with the whole thing might be caught in the net as well. And remember that the hackers won’t only target your pennies. When you give them your personal info, all of your accounts linked to the email will be taken.

If you use the same email for bank accounts, social media, or other important matters, then it could be simply gone. All of them, in a flash. It’s a horrible thing to imagine, but it always happens daily all around us.

About Phishing Scams

By definition, phishing means an act to gain the other’s personal data using fraud or manipulation. The data that will be mined here is the usernames and passwords, which are usually linked to banks or other personal accounts.

When you say “phishing”, it sounds a lot like “fishing”. It’s because the word phishing is actually taken from “fishing”. The target who will become the fish here is the users who are not or have never been informed about phishing or someone who doesn’t know how to handle their own security online.

You might see this as a very simple method that could easily be avoided. In reality, it’s both yes and no. Do you know that 32% of the fraud cases that happened online were because of phishing?

The Anti Phishing Working Group has collected more than 165.772 phishing websites that are frequently used to manipulate people online. From the number, the damage is estimated more than $1 Million.

Phishing is probably one of the most common methods hackers use to gain the victim’s personal data. The technique doesn’t even sound as complicated as you might think. However, many would call it efficient because it uses the victim’s psychology in a way to gain the favour of the hackers.

It’s like setting a trap when you’re hunting wildlife in the jungle. Before setting a trap, you lure something that they like the most, in this case, a job offer, great discounts, or something that looks really interesting and intriguing. When the target comes closer, the hackers have to make a conversation with them, making them closer and closer.

And once the target hit the lure, they will willingly input their username, email, or password. That’s when the hackers hit the jackpot.

Every account connected to the email will be taken just like that. It’s a direct move by the hackers. While they obtained your account, they will change the passwords again so you can’t access them.

Understanding The Types of Phishing

There’s not only one type of phishing that hackers do. In fact, there are numerous phishing types that can always target users when they feel vulnerable.

1. Email Phishing

As the name implies, this is the type of phishing that’s done through email. Years before, many Youtubers reported that their accounts have been hacked after clicking a link sent by entities that claimed to be companies or brands who wanted to do a collaboration with them.

Turns out, the links were phishing links to steal the user’s personal data when clicked. The process is really quick. Once you click the link, the system will work automatically by capturing your data stored in the computer or device you’re using.

And according to the data, there are 3.4 billion phishing emails spread all around the world. Have you ever received one like this?

2. Spear Phishing

Another form of email phishing, but more massive. In email phishing, the hackers have to send the links manually to the people they want to target. However, for spear phishing, they already have a tool for that to send massive emails automatically. As a result, the victims will be more randomized.

3. Web Phishing

Now, this is a bit more complex than email phishing. Rather than using email, hackers will use websites instead. They create a fake website that displays a landing page or login page of a certain company.

They will make it as if the website is actually legitimate. Aside from the company’s landing page, they will often try to create it to be a login page for public WiFI access. In fact, it’s more common to use.

After the user puts their email, the hackers will obtain the data almost immediately. At that very same time, the user will get their accounts hacked, including vital ones like bank accounts and social media accounts.

4. Whaling

This is the type of phishing hackers use to target someone with a high position or great reputation, usually in a company. So, by doing the whaling, hackers could get into their personal data, and use it to access the company’s private data, which could be useful for competitors, or both the insider and outsiders of the company.

How to Prevent Phishing Scams

The best way to prevent phishing scams is always to be informed. If your head is open to new information, you’ll eventually be learning about fraud and ways to prevent them. For additional info, you can read an effective guide on how to protect your iPhone from hackers here. Maybe it could be useful for you if you have an iPhone around.

Now, if you want a deeper look into the methods to prevent scams, take a look at the explanations below:

1. Always Update Your Info About Phishing

Now that you’ve learned about varieties of phishing, you can still protect yourself much better by studying the methods to effectively prevent phishing scams. You see, phishing scams, or hacking, in general, always improves.

Hackers will try their best to find a way, a tiny crack in the system, to breach inside, and steal any data they want without anyone’s realizing it. So, try to learn about the current phishing trends that often happen all around you. You can see some hacking cases happening in your country, like data stealing, or data breaching by the leakers.

2. Check Who Sent The Emails

Oftentimes, we always focus only on the subject or the content of the email. When something interesting going on inside the email, the natural human reaction is to react to the post immediately, and as quickly as possible if it’s very valuable.

Thus, we often neglect who’s the sender of the emails. Even a tiny bit of difference will give you an understanding of them. When you’re calm and cool, you can actually differentiate the legit companies from the fake companies.

What’s annoying is that the hackers will try to use the username that reflects the name of a company, but with a little difference. For example, they change Apple to A.pple. And it can go with other companies’ names as well.

So, before actually doing anything, check who’s the sender of the email. See the username and email very closely. If you feel something suspicious, delete the email and block the sender. It can be seen as a wise act against phishing attacks.

Also, make sure to check before you click or download anything from the email. It’s always better to prevent than sorry.

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