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Best Practices to Protect Yourself Against Phishing Scams

Best Practices to Protect Yourself Against Phishing Scams


Phishing scams lure unsuspecting victims into revealing personal information, like passwords, login IDs, or account numbers. Victims are often tricked because phony emails or websites are used as cover to solicit the information. They feel a false sense of comfort in sharing information because the scam artist is often posing as a well-known company. These scammers will use a similar logo and create look-alike websites to collect personal information.

They often send out thousands or even millions of phishing emails. Kaspersky reports their anti-phishing filters were triggered more than 30.8 million times in the last quarter of 2015. If even a few victims take the bait, the scammers profit and the cycle continues.

How Can You Avoid Phishing Scams?

There are several steps that individuals and companies can take to protect against phishing scams. Here are ten tactics to avoid a potential phishing scam:

1. Train employees on how to identify phishing schemes and how to respond. Teach your staff to carefully compare authentic domain names to URLs linked in emails. This will ensure that they’re visiting the actual company website instead of duplicates intended to collect personal information.

2. Activate spam filters to catch common keywords used in phishing schemes.

3. Utilize add-ons and extensions as another level of prevention. It’s ideal to keep phishing emails from reaching your inbox in the first place.

4. Enact cybersecurity policies – for yourself or your business – that include password expiration and rules around password strength.

5. Disabled HTML in email or convert your emails to text only. This view makes it easier for users to identify tricky links or questionable requests for information.

6. Remember that companies almost never request information like account numbers, passwords, or user IDs through email. If they do, call them or contact them backchannel to give the information in another, safer way.

7. Update software, browsers, and antivirus programs to access the latest security patches and close vulnerabilities.

8. Rather than clicking on links in an email, retype (not copy and paste) the address in your browser bar. This usually allows you to catch a subtle difference in the scammer website vs the actual company website.

9. Use an SSL Certificate to secure traffic to and from websites that you manage.

10. Make sure that the personal information (i.e. high schools, hometowns, birthdays, etc.) needed to reset your passwords aren’t readily available on your social media accounts.

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