The entire world is moving towards complete digitalization, and with it, the threats to online security have increased. It is not that the world is not aware of it. The world is aware of the problem as well as varied solutions or preventable ways to it. Still, data breaches happen, phishing scams happen, and we lose money. Hackers use email, phone calls, social media, and other communication mediums to access valuable data such as passwords, credit card information, and other sensitive data.
A Scam Email is an email used by hackers to deceive someone intentionally for defrauding them for personal gain. A scam email is different from a spam email, as the latter is an aggressive tactic for marketing products and services. One type of such scam emails is the ‘save yourself email scam’ that extorts money from you by claiming to have your personal data or passwords. The most important part is to identify such scam emails and save yourself from scam emails so that you avoid clicking on them and opening them. This is one of the key strategies to save oneself from phishing scams. Below we discuss some of the tactics to protect yourself from phishing emails:
Awareness and the right education regarding ways to prevent such scam emails is the top priority
It is critical for countries, governments, IT ministry, companies, IT departments, banks, and other authorities to educate citizens, employees, individuals, and the community on such phishing scams. Everyone must be aware of the basic signs of a possible phishing attack – the red flags that direct your mind not to open the scam email.
Employees are the weakest link as far as cybersecurity is concerned as they have access to the company’s sensitive data. Therefore, they must have all the knowledge regarding security measures and protocols. Companies must conduct regular training for their employees to detect such frauds and the ways to keep themselves and their private information secure and safe from malware. It is a good practice to use simulation techniques to impart your employees a real-life experience of the vulnerability to a phishing scam email and safeguard measures.
The government must create a list of ‘Dos and Don’ts’ and spread it to everyone so that the people are aware of the basic mistakes they do, which can be avoided.
Before opening the phishing scam email, check the email address thoroughly
One of the biggest red flags of such email spamming is the wrong domain name. Email scammers do this by misspelling the domain name by just one alphabet since readers may not read it so carefully to identify the misspelled domain name. This is generally common in the cases of email scammers using famous company domain names so that the credibility is high and the chances of users opening that email are also high.
Another way to spot the phishing scam email is to use big brand names in the email address before the domain name. If a company named ABC sends you an email, the likely email address will be email@example.com or any other variation and not firstname.lastname@example.org. Individuals and businesses must be aware of such scam email addresses.
The email content with links are another way to detect phishing emails
In scam emails, mostly English grammar is poor, and words are misspelt. The email recipient must check the error’s context and the frequency of such errors in the email. Another red alert in the case of phishing emails is suspicious attachments or links. Such attachments and links capture sensitive information such as account details, credit card information, login credentials, phone numbers, and other data. Specifically, in the case of suspicious links that are given as hyperlinks on the company name or shortened links so that it does not look suspicious. However, users must hover over the hyperlink to identify the actual link and only then click on it, if found to be real.
A sense of urgency in the email is a red flag of a phishing scam email
Any email asking you to take an urgent action such as urgently sending personal information or urgently clicking on the link to win some money are not the actions a legitimate company would take. Email scammers use such bogus deadlines, immediate inconveniences, and threatening tones so that you fear the inevitable and take some action, which you should not for your security.
Actually, this is a way to target your extra carefulness by asking you to act immediately. If we act immediately, we are more prone to falling for such phishing scams. However, when we wait and think about something, we become careful and start noticing some irregularities with the email, and that is when the phishing scams are identified.
The best way to address these scam emails is to find the company on the website and their contact number from the website to call them directly and ask them about the message’s authenticity. Do not use the number or the email address given in the phishing email you received.
Maintain security protocols and authentication methods to catch hold of scam emails
Unauthorized access to emails is possible only if proper authentication tools have not been implemented. Therefore, it is a good practice to enable multi-factor authentication to your email address to avoid unauthorized access through phishing emails. If unauthorized login or suspicious activities happen on your account from another device, you receive a security code to phone, email address, or authenticator apps for confirmation.
Another significant way you can prevent phishing scams from affecting your personal data is to safeguard your email domain from spoofing and attacks by following email authentication protocols. This process ensures that your emails are delivered securely, and no malware is sent through attachments to your clients or business associates. Another good practice is encrypting the sensitive information in your email content to keep it secure and avoid any possible message alteration by cyber attackers.
Try to visit only the secure websites to avoid exposure to scam emails
There are differences in the websites you visit – some are secure while some are not. You must be aware of these differences and stick to the secure ones to avoid being the victim of such scam emails. Visit only those sites, which begin with ‘HTTPS’ and not ‘HTTP’ since, in the former ones, the ‘s’ stands for security.
Frequent change of passwords is an effective way to fight phishing scams
Changing passwords is a tiresome process, and the fear of forgetting those passwords is a different ball game altogether. However, it is an unavoidable best practice. Therefore, make it a habit to frequently keep changing the passwords for your accounts, emails, and apps. Never use the same password for multiple sites or the same password again for the same site.
Keep following the above-mentioned best practices to keep yourself safe and secure from scam emails. One trick that you can use is to trust your gut instincts and your common sense. When you feel the email is not right, just go with your gut feeling and not open it. Along with it, use your common sense based on the points mentioned above to protect yourself from such phishing scams.