Each day, scammers launch thousands of phishing attacks on unsuspecting individuals in the hopes of gathering their personal information.
While the scammers are often successful in their pursuits—and regularly change their tactics—there are signs to help you recognize a phishing email or text. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns of the following:
- Phishing emails and text messages may look like they’re from a company you know or trust. They may look like they’re from a bank, a credit card company, a social networking site, an online payment website or app, or an online store.
- Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. For example, they may say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts, claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information or even say you must confirm some personal information.
While spam filters can keep suspicious emails out of your inbox, scammers are always looking for new ways to defy the filters. The FTC offers several additional safety steps to protect yourself from phishing attempts:
- Protect your computer by using security software. Set the software to update automatically so it can deal with any new security threats.
- Protect your mobile phone by setting software to update automatically.These updates could give you critical protection against security threats.
- Protect your accounts by using multi-factor authentication.Some accounts offer extra security by requiring two or more credentials to log in to your account. This is called multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication makes it harder for scammers to log in to your accounts if they do get your username and password.
- Protect your data by backing it up. Back up your data and make sure those backups aren’t connected to your home network. You can copy your computer files to an external hard drive or cloud storage. Back up the data on your phone, too.
Always be wary of suspicious—and unsolicited—requests for personal information. Think twice before clicking a link or providing personal information by email, text or over the phone. For more information on protecting yourself from phishing scams, visit the FTC website.