A Guide to Confront Phishing

Banking CIO Outlook | Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Phishing is proving to be a costly menace. Immediate action and awareness can raise the level of protection against fraudsters on the prowl.

FREMONT, CA: The number of phishing attacks has been steadily rising. In the Internet Crime Report by FBI, phishing scams had cost individuals almost $30 million in 2017. These figures well project the gravity of the situation. To bring the rate of phishing attacks down, concerted efforts have to be undertaken by concerned authorities and stakeholders. Governments and financial institutions have an essential role to play in making the general public aware of phishing attacks, thereby preventing them from falling prey to criminals.

A phishing attack generally involves an email or a text sent to potential victims, inviting them to click on a link or divulge sensitive personal information. The attacker is then able to gain control of bank accounts of the victim and steal money. The extent of the damages caused by phishing attacks could be vast. Unsuspecting individuals often fail to identify the phishing attempts of fraudsters and end up losing money and data.

The most effective step towards the prevention of phishing involves getting the public to identify potentially unsafe messages. The increasing level of sophistication with which fraudsters are designing their attacks these days is making it difficult for one to gauge the fact that it could be a threat. Once awareness increase with people being able to differentiate between a legitimate message and a scam, the occurrence of phishing will reduce automatically. 

In order to identify attempts of phishing, individuals should always look up the companies from which they receive any message. One must make it a point not to use the phone numbers or links that are attached to the emails or messages sent from unknown sources. Reaching out to the company using the details available on their website is an excellent idea to ensure the safety of the correspondence.

The tell-tale signs of phishing emails and messages include poorly written and grammatically incorrect content, no mention of names to whom the messages are addressed to and questions regarding personal details. If one does not have an account with a company and still receives an email, it could very well be an attempt at stealing.

Apart from an increased level of awareness, tools that prevent phishing can prove to be handy. Multi-factor authentication process updates security software, and strong passwords are an important means of combating phishing attacks.

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