Phishing is the term given to attempts made by fraudsters to steal someone’s personal information. These attempts are usually made through emails and websites. Phishing scams look exactly like the genuine ones and are aimed at stealing information.

The best way to stay protected from phishing is to recognize what it looks like.

For example, take a phishing website.

Unlike genuine websites, phishing scams are designed to last for a short span of time. They are built with a sense of urgency. This is why the images are often of poor quality. The logo or the resolution of the website is of poor quality as well. The text is usually filled with grammatical and spelling mistakes.

The link or URL

The URL of safe websites starts with “https”. But the URL for phishing scams starts with “http”. There is no S. Here the S stands for the word secure. If you don’t see “https” written on the website URL, do not proceed with it.

Websites starting with numbers or IP addresses are also likely to be phishing websites. For example, :http://12.55.66.77/accountupdate/

More signs of a phishing website include:

Wrong company name

Phishing scams are copies of other websites. More often than not, the name of the company is spelt wrong or in a tricky way. For example paypal.com might be spelt as paypa1.com. See the difference between the two names?

Pop up windows

Phishing scams will bombard you with pop-ups the moment you land on them. Genuine websites don’t do that. Pop-ups are usually designed to steal information. If you have a pop-up blocker and a pop-up still opens up on your browser, then you can be sure that you are at a phishing website.

Genuine links mixed with fraudulent ones

The creators of these phishing scams sometimes include the link of the original website on their page. For example, they might link the original URL of the terms and conditions page of the website they are copying from. These genuine links are often mixed with the fraudulent ones to make the site appear authentic.

A genuine website will never ask for the following details:

Your account password, credit card number, social security number

Genuine websites will never send you emails with attachments for “verifying” your details. These attachments often contain “keystroke loggers” which record whatever you type in.

How to protect yourself from phishing scams?

  • Install a plug in or an add-on which can detect phishing websites
  • Suppose you are on a website which is a copy of another. You have opened it and it is asking for your login details. You are not sure whether you should. Simply type in the wrong password and wait. If you get signed in, then you are on a phishing website. Do not reveal any more information and simply close the page.
  • Install anti-phishing software for maximum protection from phishing websites.
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