IT Tip of the Day: How to Spot and Avoid Phishing Attacks
Phishing is a type of cyber attack that attempts to steal your personal information by tricking you into clicking on a malicious link or opening an attachment. Phishing attacks can be very convincing, and they can target anyone, regardless of their technical expertise.
Here are some tips for spotting and avoiding phishing attacks:
- Be suspicious of emails and text messages from unknown senders. If you receive an email or text message from someone you don’t know, be suspicious. Even if the email or text message appears to be from a legitimate company, it could be a phishing attack.
- Don’t click on links in emails or text messages. If you are unsure whether an email or text message is legitimate, do not click on any links in the message. Instead, go to the company’s website directly.
- Don’t open attachments in emails. If you receive an email with an attachment, do not open the attachment. Even if the attachment appears to be from a legitimate company, it could contain malware.
- Be careful about what information you enter on websites. When you enter your personal information on a website, make sure that the website is secure. You can check if a website is secure by looking for the “https://” prefix in the address bar.
Here are some examples of common phishing attacks:
- Emails that claim to be from a bank or credit card company. These emails may ask you to update your account information or to verify your identity.
- Emails that claim to be from a government agency. These emails may ask you to pay a fine or to provide your personal information.
- Emails that claim to be from a shipping company. These emails may ask you to confirm a delivery or to track a package.
- Text messages that claim to be from a friend or family member. These text messages may ask you to call a number or to click on a link.
If you think you have been the victim of a phishing attack, you should:
- Change your passwords immediately. You should change your passwords for all of your online accounts, especially for important accounts such as your email and bank accounts.
- Contact the companies that have been affected. You should contact the companies that have been affected by the phishing attack to let them know. They may be able to help you protect your accounts.
- File a report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). You can file a report online at ftc.gov/complaint.
By following these tips, you can help protect yourself from phishing attacks.