Have you been the victim of phishing scams? They’re not always easy to spot. Whether you’re getting an email from a Nigerian price, you won the Chinese lottery, or your bank asks you to verify your information via an odd link to their website, phishing is surprisingly common to fall for.
What Are Phishing Scams?
Phishing is a type of scam that deceives the end user by pretending to be a trustworthy source, such as a bank or credit card website. These conss are sophisticated and often lead you to believe you are logging into a secure site because it looks and works just like the real thing. If you do any sort of work online with sensitive data, such as check your bank balance, pay your rent or schedule payments for your credit card, you may be at risk for phishing.
How to Avoid Phishing Scams
Avoiding phishing scams is relatively easy. In 99.9 percent of cases, your bank or others that hold your sensitive information will not reach out via email and ask you to login to your account. They’ll alert you to potential issues and direct you to a phone number. If you receive an email that asks you to login to a website, don’t follow it. Go to the website yourself by searching for it in Google or refer to the documentation that came from the company when you did business with them.
Never, ever give out any personal information to someone ask you via email. If someone calls you first, let’s say your credit card provider, tell them you’ll call the number on the back of your card and get back to them. Then, do just that. Most credit card companies and banks understand this and appreciate the lengths you’ll go to protect your personal information.
What to Do If You’re a Victim of a Phishing Scam
If you suspect you’ve become a victim of a phishing scam, you need to take action immediately. Locate the contact information of the company. Make sure you find a phone number. You can locate this information on any official document you received in them mail from the company. At this point, don’t rely on any information you find online.
Call the company, let them know what happened, and they’ll walk you through their fraud prevention steps. For some companies, like banks, you may need a new debit, credit, or account. For others, they may be able to change your login information before any harm is done. The key is to act as quickly as possible to avoid any damage.
If you’ve been a victim of a phishing scam, you’ll be cautious in the future to avoid them. Hopefully, you’ll avoid them all together and now have to deal with the hassle of the fallout from clicking the wrong link or giving out your information to the wrong person.