What is phishing?
Phishing is a scam where someone tries to trick you into revealing your personal information by sending you an email or other communication that looks like it comes from a trustworthy source. This could be your bank, an online retailer or even a social networking site such as Facebook or Instagram. Once you respond to the email or click on a link in the message, you’ll be taken to a website or asked to provide your personal information so the scammer can use it to commit fraud.
How are phishing scams carried out?
A phishing scam can take place in a number of ways. The scammer could send you an email asking you to click a link to give them access to your account or information. This link will take you to a fake website that looks exactly like the real one. However, it has been designed to look like it belongs to a trusted company so that you’ll unwittingly enter your login information. They may also send you a text message or call you pretending to be from your bank or another organization to encourage you to reveal your personal information so they can steal your money or identification. They might pretend to be from a technical support team and ask you to reveal your login details so they can access your computer. Another way that scammers will try to get their hands on your personal information is through an app on your mobile phone. These apps often look legitimate but they can include malware that can gain access to your device without your knowledge. It’s even possible to download an app that is designed to infect your phone and then it will automatically direct you to the scammer’s website when you try to use it.
Why are phishing scams so dangerous?
Scammers use phishing to steal your personal information so that they can commit fraud and identity theft. They can use this information to pretend to be you in order to carry out crimes including transferring money from your bank account to their own, taking out a loan in your name or stealing your identity so they can apply for credit cards or other lines of credit in your name. If they have access to your personal details they can also use them to apply for jobs online or even take out loans in your name. This can lead to huge financial problems for you as well as for the people that they have stolen your identity from.
What can you do to avoid being a victim of a phishing scam?
The best way to avoid falling victim to a phishing scam is to stay informed about the latest scams and recognize the signs that an email or text message is suspicious. Don’t click on any links or download attachments without first checking the identity of the sender. Never give your personal or financial information to anyone who contacts you unexpectedly by telephone or email and ask for some evidence of their identity before sharing any details with them. If you receive an email or call that seems suspicious - Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or use the form on our website.