According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center’s report, the United States experienced “an unprecedented increase” in cyber crimes in 2021. Phishing remains one of the top types of cyber crimes. It is an online scam that targets people by sending them emails that look as if they are from reputed companies such as banks, mortgage lenders, or internet service providers. It requests personal or financial data which is misused by fraudsters to commit frauds. Here are some useful insights by an identity theft attorney in California on how you can spot and avoid phishing scams:
How to spot phishing scams?
1. Generic greeting: Phishing emails or messages use generic greetings such as “Dear customer,” “Dear account holder,” or “Dear client.” Fraudsters often send mass mails to as many people as they can to get their hands on their personal and financial information. Legitimate companies will address you by your name.
2. Misspelled domain name: Fraudsters often hijack domain names that resemble that of a reputable company. The idea is to trick you into clicking on these links. However, on a closer look, it can be found that there’s a subtle difference between the misspellings of fake domain names and legitimate domain names. You should, therefore, be watchful when clicking on any link shared via email or text.
3. Legit companies don’t request sensitive information via email:
Legitimate companies do not send emails or texts asking for your passwords, credit card information, credit scores, or Social Security Number. They also do not send any link to login.
Here are some tips to avoid phishing scams:
1. Use security software: It is a good idea to use anti-phishing software on your computer. Good anti-phishing software has sophisticated and multi-layered threat detection. They detect and delete hostile content such as malware, spam, advanced threats and other security risks.
2. Protect your smartphone: If you use your phone for banking transactions, always do it on authentic apps. Avoid using browsers as that can be risky — You may end up on a fake domain. Also, keep your phone software updated as this could give you critical protection against security threats.
3. Use multi-factor authentication: Many financial Institutions, banks and reputed organizations offer extra security by requiring two or more credentials to log in to your account. This is called multi-factor authentication. This means you need more than one piece of information to log in. For instance, to log into your account, other than PIN, you will need a one-time verification passcode.
What to do in case you have received a phishing email or text message
If you got a phishing email or text, inform the FTC at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov./#/. This will help government agencies to fight the problem.
What to do in case you are a victim of a phishing attack
Here’s what you should do:
- Place a fraud alert with the banks and creditors.
- Change your passwords for online banking.
- Check for signs of identity theft.
- Report the Incident to the Federal Trade Commission.
- Consult an identity theft attorney or title fraud protection attorney.
If you are a victim of identity theft, consult an experienced identity theft attorney. An attorney can offer legal advice as to how you can recover your losses. If you are looking for an identity theft attorney in California, get in touch with Mr David L Fleck.