Phishing Red Flags

Phishing is a cybercrime in which a target is contacted by email, phone call, or text message by someone posing as a legitimate institution to lure individuals into providing sensitive data such as personally identifiable information, banking and credit card details, and passwords. The information is then used to access important accounts and can result in identity theft and financial loss.

It has a high success rate across different types of industries. According to a new benchmarking report, phishing remains the #1 threat action used in successful breaches linked to social engineering and malware attacks. 

One reason it’s so easy to fall prey to a phishing scam is that not everyone knows what to look for to determine the validity of a message. It also doesn’t help that scammers are becoming more creative and adept at mimicking legitimate messages.

Below are some signs to watch out for:

  1. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is: The most common tactic is notification that you won a prize, contest, or the lottery- anything that entices you to click their link. If you haven’t entered your name in a contest, it’s highly unlikely that you won something out of the blue.
  1. Deals that require you to act immediately: Scammers fabricate a sense of urgency to force you to act rashly. Remember that legitimate institutions always give you time to respond, they hardly ever have promotions that end within minutes.
  1. Addresses and hyperlinks that look suspicious: Always hover your cursor over a hyperlink before clicking. It will show you where you’re really being directed:
Office365 Phishing Scam
  1. Attachments of a dangerous file type: Never open an attachment that you weren’t expecting, even if it’s from someone you know- they might have gotten hacked. They often contain payloads like ransomware or other viruses. The only file type that is always safe to click on is a .txt file.
  1. From a sender unknown to you (individual or company): It’s a good rule of thumb to be wary of any message from someone you don’t know. Especially if it asks you to enter personal information or click a link or open a document.

As with everything else, consult an industry expert whenever you’re in doubt- it’s better to be safe than sorry. Our technicians at Technology Solutions of MI are always ready to answer your questions or provide protection against phishing. We’re here to help, so schedule an appointment today!