Friday, July 5, 2013

Phishing Scams: Think Before You Click

Cyber-criminals are installing malicious software onto your computer and taking everything they can with a click-of-the-mouse.  Phishing emails, scam websites, and suspicious phone calls are all designed to make them money at your expense.   With the use of social engineering, cyber-criminals are able to convince people to install malicious software without you knowing you are handing over your personal information.  So beware when you start seeing spam mail bombarding your accounts or annoying unknown numbers popping up on your phone.

Recognizing Phishing Phishing Email Example

Online banking and e-commerce are pretty safe, but giving out your personal information or financial material should be done with caution.

  1. Think before you click.

If something looks too good to be true, it most likely is.   Be aware of the websites you are on and information they contain so you don't get caught up in the glitz and glam of a thought out scam. If there are a lot of spelling errors or bad grammer, know that it might be a scam.

  1. Trust who you know, not their emails

Don't trust unsolicited files or embedded links, even if it's from your friend. Look at the subject line of your message or link to determine if it's unreadable or looks foreign. If you have no idea what is on the page, don't click on it just to satisfy your curiosity. Be smarter than the malware.

  1. Don't be fooled

Cyber-criminals are smart, they know ways to disguise a link to make it look as if it's something safe. Malicious links are sometimes disguised in phishing e-mails with known company's to make you think they are legitimate. Validate the page and roll your cursor over the link to see if another link shows up, you will know if this link will redirect you to another site or not.

  1. Short URL's

A technique for hiding malicious links are hiding it through a URL shortener. This is a service that Twitter uses to shorten long URL's. TinyURL,, and are all legitimate Short URL services that can be used.

  1. Don't be threatened

Be on top of your game. Cyber-criminals often use a threats to put you into a panic and catch you off guard. If you receive mail that you are being sued or an account is being closed, make sure you do some research before pulling out your pocketbook.

  1. Spoof websites

Scammers use graphics in emails that appear to be attached to a legitimate site. When clicking on these websites it will direct you to the real site but penetrate your screen with a mass amount of pop-up windows. Be wary ofirresponsible clicking when surfing the net.

Phishing Diagram

Fishy phone calls

Cyber-criminals might call you to offer help with solving computer problems, or sell you some kind of software license. Do not take these unsolicited phone calls. You might be persuaded into giving out your account information or personal information that could be the birth of identity fraud.

If you are a victim or are suspicious of any phishing activity, please report to Anti-Phishing Workers Group at

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