With so much of our lives being lived online, being able to prove who we are to the people and businesses we habitually deal with is very important and being able to remember various passwords, logins and significant other’s date of birth etc are all accepted as being a part of allowing us to prove that we are who we say we are. But what if someone else got hold of that information?
What is Phishing?
Phishing is an illegal process where scammers try to get sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by mimicking a reputable company such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft etc. They usually send an email pretending to be from auction sites, social networking sites or banks and payment gateways, if you are not aware of these scams it can be easy to think these are legitimate and send them your account details.
Some phishing scams also request that you download a file which will install a virus that will corrupt your computer or access personal information such as bank details. These types of phishing scams are usually carried out through email and instant messenger and can be difficult to spot as a scam as they will have the companies brand and look in most ways like a legitimate and trustworthy source.
Recently there have been a few phishing scams, most companies find out if someone is using their name and brand for a scam and will issue a warning.
Some facebook scams send an email to users saying they needed toresett their password and attach a zip file which contained a virus. Everyone in the Falkon Digital team received this email so it may have come from a popular application, or third party to this application. Facebook and Mashable issued a warning that this scam was going around and facebook users passed this warning on to all of their friends so hopefully this scam didn’t do too much damage.
Another giant in the internet that has been used for a Phishing scam is Google, someone emailed a message to Google Adwords users explaining that Google were having problems displying ads, they then directed the user to another site to get this sorted. This is another way of scamming users, this scam even went so far as to use a Google domain but instead of Google.com it is google-vm.com but to the everyday internet user they probably wouldn’t notice this small detail.
How can I spot a Phishing Scam?
If you are concerned that someone is trying to scam you then look at the email or message for clues, are they asking you for personal information? Most companies would not ask you for bank details or passwords over email unless it has been requested by you from their official website.
These kind of scams happen all the time and even experienced web designers and internet consultants get caught out from time to time, but if you are aware of what phishing is you are less likely to get caught. If someone scams you it can be really difficult to sort out as they can access your bank account and other details through the sensitive information they have gotten. If you are unsure try contacting the company you believe it is from or have a look online or in forums to see if someone else has had similar emails.