phishing scam
phishing scam

How to Protect Yourself From Phishing

You’ve likely seen it before—that strange message in your email inbox from a name you don’t recognize, promising big rewards or warning of issues with your account if you don’t click the link right away. Scammers and hackers are constantly hatching new schemes to trick people through phishing emails, fake websites, and other digital channels. As more of our lives move online, protecting yourself from scams has become increasingly important.

While it may seem daunting, there are simple steps we can all take to recognize phishing attempts and shield ourselves from fraud. In this post, we’ll share some key tips and tricks to help you safely and confidently navigate the digital world without worrying about fraudsters. Our personal data and finances should be secure, so let’s get started protecting what matters most.

What is Phishing?

Phishing is a type of fraud in which cybercriminals trick people into disclosing sensitive information such as passwords, credit card numbers, and personal identification details. This malicious activity often takes the form of communications, such as emails or messages, that mimic legitimate sources to create a sense of urgency or fear in the victim, prompting immediate action.

Some organizations utilize financial fraud detection tools to combat these kinds of activities. While they do everything they can to stop fraudulent acts, you must also do your part to defend yourself against phishing. One way to do that is to recognize phishing activities.

Common Phishing Scenarios

Learn how to protect yourself from phishing by recognizing common fraudulent acts:

email for unauthorized activity detection

An Email for Unauthorized Activity Detection

Imagine you receive an email early in the morning, seemingly from your bank, with a subject line that instantly grabs your attention: “Urgent: Unauthorized Activity Detected on Your Account!” The email looks professional, complete with the bank’s logo and official formatting. It states that suspicious transactions have been detected and asks you to click a link to verify your identity or to ‘secure’ your account immediately.

An Email About Problems with Recent Orders

Perhaps you get an email from a popular online retailer where you shop frequently, informing you that there’s a problem with your recent order. To resolve the issue, the email prompts you to click on a link to update your payment information. When you click the link, your private information will be exposed to the fraudsters.

text message about overdue payments

An Email or Text Message About Overdue Payments

You might have received a message regarding overdue payments from an installment payment service, asking you to click on a link to make the payment. But beware; this could be a phishing scam designed to steal your personal and financial information.

An Email from Your Bank Requesting Verification

Banks often send out emails requesting customers to verify their account information or login credentials for security purposes. However, these emails may not always be legitimate and could lead you to a fake website where your information will be compromised. Be cautious and protect yourself from fraud by double-checking with your bank if you receive such an email.

man received an email about winning a prize

An Email About Winning a Prize

Congratulations! You have just won a lottery or prize and all you need to do is click on a link or provide some personal information to claim it. Usually, fraudsters would input random numbers to say the whole event was certified by the government or a certain organization.

Most of the time, these situations exploit familiar scenarios and trusted names to create a compelling illusion. The urgency and fear of losing access to your accounts or facing financial loss are powerful motivators, leading many to follow the instructions in the phishing email without further scrutiny.

How to Protect Yourself from Phishing

If you’ve experienced any fraudulent acts and have unfortunately fallen victim to them, learning how to recover from a scam is a good start to reduce the risk of phishing from happening again.

Here’s how:

Identify Phishing Signs

Be vigilant for suspicious signs in emails: generic greetings, spelling mistakes, and email addresses that don’t match the company’s official domain.

deleting spam emails

Avoid Engaging with Phishing Emails

Always look at the email addresses of the official banks you’re in. Do not respond to, click on links, or download attachments from suspicious emails. These actions can compromise your security.

Notify Your Email Provider of Suspicious Emails

One defense against a phishing strategy is to report phishing attempts. This will assist email providers in enhancing their spam filters and safeguarding other users.

typing on a laptop

Refrain from Disclosing Personal Details

Legitimate companies will never ask for sensitive information via email. Always be cautious about sharing personal data.

Implement Robust Password Practices

Gone are the days when you used 123456 or abcde in your passwords. Use strong, unique passwords for different accounts, and consider using a password manager to keep track of them.

updating apps in mobile phone

Ensure Your Operating System is Updated

Protect yourself from scams by updating your gadgets’ operating systems. Regular updates fix security vulnerabilities, reducing the risk of phishing attacks exploiting outdated software.

Steer Clear of Jailbroken Devices

Jailbreaking can remove essential security features, making devices more susceptible to phishing attacks.

monitoring financial statements

Monitor Your Financial Statements Regularly

Check your statements for unauthorized transactions that could indicate your information has been compromised. If you see any suspicious transactions, report them immediately to your bank.

Refrain from Clicking Unfamiliar Links or Attachments

If you receive a message from an unknown number or email asking you to click a link, don’t do it. These could be traps set by phishers to install malware or steal information.

unsubscribe button

Exercise Caution with Fake Unsubscribe Options

Phishers may use unsubscribe links as a ploy to confirm active email addresses. Reduce the risk of phishing by using email settings to block unwanted senders instead.

Interact Only with Known Contacts

Be wary of unexpected communications, even if they seem to come from a known entity. Verify through official channels if in doubt.

secured icon showing on phone screen

Stay Updated on Security Trends

Consider delving into security trends as part of your money-saving resolutions. Be aware of the latest phishing tactics as this can help you spot and avoid new scams.

Implement Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication typically requires a code, sent to your phone via text or generated by an app, in addition to your password. This adds an extra layer of security, making it harder for attackers to gain access to your accounts even if they have your credentials.

creating data backup

Consistently Back Up Your Data

Routine backups can reduce the impact in the event of a successful phishing attack, enabling the recovery of lost or compromised data. Consider regularly backing up your data weekly, monthly, or quarterly.

Implement Pop-Up Blocking

Utilize browser settings or tools to thwart pop-ups, frequently exploited by phishers to imitate genuine sites or showcase counterfeit alerts. Look for ad and pop-up blocker extensions as they’re usually free and give you a seamless browsing experience on your favorite sites.

firewall

Utilize a Firewall

A firewall can help prevent unauthorized access to your devices, offering another line of defense against phishing. Ensure that your firewall is enabled and properly configured to protect your network.

Maintain an Updated Browser

One of the best ways to protect yourself from fraudulent acts is to update your browsers. Browser updates often include security patches that protect against phishing and other online threats.

employing antivirus protection

Employ Antivirus Protection

Antivirus software can detect and remove malicious software that may be installed through phishing attempts. It’s also important to regularly update your antivirus software to ensure maximum protection.

Protecting Yourself From Scams Is a Life-Long Journey

Phishing is a prevalent threat that requires constant vigilance to combat. By understanding how to protect yourself from phishing, implementing recommended security measures, and staying informed about the latest scams, you can significantly reduce the risk of becoming a victim.

Remember, your best defense against phishing is a combination of technology and common sense. Need more information about phishing and financial security tools? Contact us today and we will help you.

FinScore is a financial technology company in the Philippines that offers a powerful credit scoring platform and fraud detection tools based on alternative data, including telco-based data. 

As the pioneer in lending and scoring of the unbanked, we continuously provide fintech services that empower financial institutions, banks, and credit bureaus with flexible platforms to help them make insightful and reliable credit decisions. Contact us today to learn more about our products and solutions for financial institutions.

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