Phishing is one of the most common activities perpetrated by those running online scams. In case you do not know, it refers to an attempt to collect information on a target in order to use that information for unlawful activity later on. The information collected in a phishing scam could be used to break into someone’s PayPal account, for instance, or to impersonate them in order to use their credit for a loan.
In an age where information is arguably more powerful than ever, phishing poses a grave threat to all of us. Knowing what sort of online scams are used to phish for your information can help you evade this threat. Below are just a few of the ones you should be aware of for safety.
Phishing Online Scams You Need to Know
- The Fake Link Email – This is among the most commonly seen and unfortunately, effective, online scams at the moment. Essentially, it comes in the form of an email that purports to be an official digital letter from a company you know or use.
Usually, the company has to do with your finances. This means the email might claim to be from PayPal, from your bank’s online facility, and the like. However, it may also claim to be from a social networking site or even something else, as long as it is something that requires a secure login process.
The danger comes from the link in the email, which does not actually send you to the login page of the real company’s website. Rather, it usually redirects you to a webpage that looks like the real login page. However, this page is not actually a login page but something meant to capture your login details which it does when you unwittingly type your username and password into the entry boxes.
Avoid this by not clicking on links in emails, as much as possible.
- The you-have-won-the-lottery scam – This typically starts off with a congratulatory message to the recipient regarding some unheard-of lottery that he has just won. If he wants to collect his award, though, the recipient is informed that he now has to send in certain personal details for the purpose of validating his identity.
As far as online scams go, this is another oft-successful one simply because people tend to overlook the suspicious aspects of it in their eagerness to collect the promised lottery reward. Keep in mind, though, that if you really did win a lottery, your identity validation would take place in person and not by email.
- The share-this-out scam – Some online scams actually phish for information via social media sharing. The common method is to claim that if targets share out a story, email, or photo about someone needy, every share earns money donations from the relevant social network. In reality, social networks almost never offer such things, even for charity.
Be careful with what you spread around, as you may end up contributing to a phishing scheme otherwise. Online scams may be inescapable features of the Web, but you can avoid feeding them if you employ a little care in your surfing.