Ever since the early days of the internet, scammers have been working to steal our money, and sometimes our identity. And while we as internet users have gotten more aware and are more capable of identifying scams, the bad guys have gotten better too, which means danger is still out there, lurking behind every digital corner.
However, the best defense against cybercrime is not to avoid using the internet. Doing that would be denying ourselves all the best things the internet has to offer, such as educational resources, social media, and, of course, pictures of cute dogs. Instead, the best thing you can do is to inform yourself about how hackers work and about the most common types of scams out there.
Email scams, also known as phishing, are some of the most prevalent threats, so it’s important to understand what they are as well as what they look like so that you can steer clear and stay safe while surfing the web. Read on to find everything you need to know.
Understand the Risk of Email Phishing
To help you understand the risk that email phishing poses, consider the following:
What is Phishing?
According to phishing.com, phishing is a type of cybercrime in which hackers contact you while posing as a legitimate institution or organization in an attempt to get you to provide sensitive or private information. Once they have this information, they most often use it to commit financial or identity theft, the consequences of which can be extremely severe.
This type of phishing can occur over the telephone, via SMS text message, or, as is most often the case, through email.
Other phishing attempts will ask you to download a file or click a link, and doing so will infect your computer with malicious software that can cause your personal information to end up in the wrong hands.
Integral to almost all phishing attempts is website or email spoofing. This is the practice of creating a website or email template that nearly perfectly mimics a legitimate website. These designs are very professionally done and can be almost impossible to distinguish from the real thing.