It’s easy to think we’re not being scammed, but every year more people fall victim to these cybercrimes than you realize. This is the example. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center found that in 2019 alone, Americans lost a jaw-dropping $57 million to phishing scams.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), thousands of phishing scams are launched every day, raising the risk that you will actually be targeted. The best way to protect yourself from these online attacks is to understand what they are and what phishing scams are trying to do. Of course, you also need to have good systems in place to protect yourself.
Software like Malwarebytes Premium can help. It helps provide 24/7 protection against a range of important online threats, including phishing scams, ransomware, malware and viruses, even before they reach you. Malwarebytes Premium also helps protect you from visiting malicious websites, as well as online scams and phishing attacks designed to steal your sensitive information.
But why do you need to protect yourself from phishing scams? What exactly can phishing sites do? Cybersecurity experts have analyzed this.
What is a phishing scam, again?
Joseph Steinberg, a cybersecurity expert and emerging technology consultant, told Yahoo Life, “Phishing refers to communications impersonating a reputable party and claiming to be from that party in order to trick recipients into taking certain actions, while If they knew the true identity of the sender of the message, they would not have taken these actions. So a phishing scam might make you think the information is coming from someone or an institution you trust, like your bank or your favorite video streaming service, when in reality it’s the work of cybercriminals.
Phishing scams typically tell a story that tricks you into clicking a link or opening an attachment, the FTC explained. These emails and text messages can say or include things such as the following.
They notice some suspicious activity or login attempts on your account
They claim there is a problem with your account or your payment information
They say you have to confirm some personal information
they included a fake invoice
They encourage you to click a link to make a payment
They say you are eligible to register for a government refund
They offered a coupon for free food
“Phishing scams are a digital problem,” Chuck Brooks, a tech and cybersecurity expert and president of Brooks International Consulting, told Yahoo Life. “It only takes a few clicks out of thousands to make a cybercriminal’s efforts successful”.
What is a phishing scam trying to do?
Phishing scams try to get hold of your private information, such as your Social Security number or bank account. Typically, phishing scams try to get you to provide “credentials that can be used to log into certain accounts, reveal private information that can be used for identity theft, provide credit card numbers or bank account information, issue payments or click on links that install malware,” Steinberg said.
Unfortunately, phishing scams are only getting more popular. “Phishing has become the weapon of choice for many hackers to get rich,” Brooks said.
How to protect yourself from phishing scams
The FTC recommends taking several steps to protect yourself from phishing scams.
- Install security software on your device. Software like Malwarebytes Premium protects you and your sensitive information. The FTC recommends setting the software to update automatically so it can handle any new security threats.
- 2. Set your phone and computer software to update automatically. These updates can help protect you from security threats.
- 3. Use multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication provides additional security by letting you submit two or more credentials to log into your account, such as your password and answer a security question unique to you. According to the FTC, multi-factor authentication makes it harder for crooks to log into your account if they happen to get hold of your username and password.
- 4. Backup your data. Make sure these backups aren’t connected to your home network, according to the Federal Trade Commission. This usually means copying your computer files to an external hard drive or cloud storage.
Phishing scams are common, but you don’t have to be scammed. Taking the right steps can greatly protect you now and in the future.