What is Phishing?

As the use of technology expands and more individuals utilize social media platforms and emails, phishing has become more complicated and harder to detect. Phishing is a way for scammers to trick victims into clicking on fake URL’s and links or posing as other people for the purpose of stealing the victim’s personal information.  They do this by luring the victim to send banking information or clicking links that allows the hacker to gain entry into their computer system.

Common Phishing Attempts

Asking for Personal Information

One common scenarios of being phished is the hacker asking for personal information. The victim will usually receive a vague email or direct message stating one of their family members has been traveling and in dire need of funds. The phisher will pose as a “grandson” or “cousin” without giving specific names and ask to wire or send a check to an unfamiliar address. Another common attempt is an email claiming the victim has won a cash prize. They will post exciting and catchy words in the subject line so the victim is inclined to click and fill out the “required” information to claim a prize. Remember, an unfamiliar sender giving no specific names and asking for money is a recipe for a fraudulent attempt.  

Fake URL’s

Perhaps the hacker is just a bit smarter than openly asking for personal information. For example https://www.cciteam.com/ is a legit URL, and we know this because of the https:// prefix and the rest of the domain is concise and makes sense. Be weary of the prefix if it is missing the ‘s’ as it is an unsecured site (although not always phishing sites) also be cautious if the domain is extra long, misspelled, or has a lot of characters. Also, be sure that the URL the email sends for you to click, actually matches the company’s domain/name. Click here for a more detailed look.

Social Media Phishing

Phishing isn’t limited to emails and links. Often hackers will pose as another person via social media, even going as far as creating profiles with photos and a job history which makes them seem legitimate. Whether it’s through dating sites or instant messaging, they will con people into providing personal information and sending them money. As more platforms such as GoFundMe emerge, it is easy for phishers to set up fake accounts and trick people into donating to a worthy cause– and then keeping the money. Always verify accounts, research, and ask around if you have any suspicions. 

If something seems off, dig deeper. Make sure emails and messages have correct spelling, word usage, and don’t directly ask you for personal information. No professional company would ever do this. Hover your mouse over hyperlinks in emails to see the domain and make sure there isn’t an overwhelming amount of characters or misspelled words. Always use proper malware software and reach out to IT professionals such as CCI. We are here to provide reliable expertise for your business.