Cyber security groups in the USA predict that losses due to card not present scams will blow up to over $19 billion by 2018. This is an unbelievable 125% growth from the $8 billion losses that were reported in 2014. Some online security analysts also claim that an average of $5 is stolen by scammers from every $100 transaction on ecommerce platforms around the world. With these staggering numbers, phishing fraud online is among the leading tactics that are used by criminal syndicates worldwide to commit identity theft.

What is Phishing Fraud Online?

Simply put – Phishing fraud online is an evolved version of spam. This is where specific groups of users are targeted through sophisticated user online behavior tracking and malware distribution technologies. They are then sent deceptive messages that trick them into giving away their account credentials, personal information and financial details.

How Do Scammers Commit Phishing Fraud Online?

Criminal syndicates that operate phishing fraud online use fake websites. The deceptive messages that they send to their target victims contain links that point to these fake sites. These are exact clones of their target user’s online banking platform, Web mail portal, favorite Internet shopping network and social media site among others.

To trick usres into clicking these links, fake urgency claims are laced throughout these phishing messages. These scare users into thinking that they need to log into their accounts and update their profile details along with their account security settings. They are lead to believe that this is required to avoid account termination, suspension or privacy breaches.

When these users unknowingly enter their credentials and profile details into these fake sites, this information is then logged and stolen by these criminals. These are then used for the other illegal activities of these scammers online and offline.

These phishing messages are usually sent through email, SMS and via instant messages in popular apps like Viber and Skype. These are also sent distributed through private messaging threads in widely used online communities and social networks like Facebook. Sometimes, these fraudsters use hacked email accounts and social network profiles to commit phishing fraud online against the contacts of the users who own these compromised accounts.

How Can You Avoid These Phishing Scams?

What you can do to prevent yourself from being victimized by phishing fraud online is to avoid opening suspicious messages from unknown senders. If you can’t stop yourself from doing this, then the next best thing is to carefully verify the legitimacy of any link that you click.

You can do this by checking the URL of the link in these suspicious messages, and even in sites that don’t look right. If they’re anchored by images or text, then simply right-click on the link and choose “Copy Link Address” or any similar option. Then, paste it in a blank text document so you can see the entirety of the link’s URL. This can allow you to spot and avoid phishing fraud online.

If you aren’t sure about these messages, especially if they’re sent by trusted contacts, then confirm if your contact did indeed send these messages to you. This is for your own safety and could only take a few minutes, especially with today’s advanced communication technologies. This can go a long way in ensuring that you don’t become a victim of phishing fraud online.