Protect Yourself from Online Phishing Attacks

What is phishing? Phishing is a when a hacker or other malicious person poses as a legitimate company on the Internet and asks for your personal or financial information. Online phishing is at an all-time high and will continue to rise as technology advances. It can seem frightening if you do not know how to identify a potential phishing attack. Some people fall victim for the temptation because they were not looking closely into the situation.

Don’t Fall for Phishing Emails

Phishing emails are the number one way these attacks occur. In an email, you may receive information that appears to be legitimate from a company but look closely. These emails can be difficult to tell apart from an official email from the company because most of the information will be correct, but there will always be something wrong. To prevent yourself from becoming a victim via email, check the sender’s email address and the information they provide about you. Your account information may be wrong, and even your name could be incorrect. Don’t click on any links in a suspicious email, and never put sensitive information in an email reply unless you’re absolutely sure whom you’re communicating with.

Regularly Check Your Bank Account

Regularly checking your bank account can save you a lot of trouble in terms of phishing. If you notice something wrong with your account, call your bank immediately and discuss these matters. The sooner you notify the proper authorities, the sooner the issue can be handled and the better chance you have of tracking the person accessing your accounts without your permission. Informing your bank is the best thing to do, especially with identity theft being a common result of phishing. The sooner the illegal activity is caught, the easier it will be to stop the activity and keep your finances on track.

Other Phishing Instances

Phishing attacks do not only occur with bank accounts. Your personal information can be accessed in many different ways, including through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, or other sites that hold your personal information like subscription services or PayPal. Act as though any information you put on social media is available to everyone. Be careful about sharing your personal information on the Internet. It is easier than you think for a malicious person to falsely pose as a legitimate website or break into an account to gain access to personal information, so only provide sensitive information when you’re sure you’re on a reputable site.

Manage Your Passwords

It might be annoying to do, but there are plenty of good reasons to change your passwords frequently, and to make sure they’re strong. Some people use the same password for all of their online accounts, but this can cause big problems in the event one account gets hacked. If any of your accounts use the same login information, a security breach on just one account becomes a security emergency for all of them. A low-importance account without much personal information quickly becomes the master key for a hacker to gain access to any other accounts using the same password. If you have trouble remembering passwords, try using a password keeper.

Trust Your Instincts

Most of the time, your intuitive feeling is not wrong. In this instance, if you feel something is not right about an email, friend request, or some other form of communication, do not risk it. There are many different ways of getting your information and using it without your permission through phishing techniques. If you have a bad feeling about something, your instincts are probably right.