Category Archives: phishing scams

10 Ways How To Avoid Being A Phishing Scams Victim

Nobody wants to be a victim of phishing. We have seen so many instances of phishing, and looks like the scams are continuing for a good reason: it allow cybercriminals to make huge profits. Phishing scams have been around since the inception of the Internet and will not disappear anytime sooner. Fortunately, there are ways you avoid being a victim yourself. Here are 10 basic guidelines to protect yourself:

1. Be updated about phishing techniques

New phishing methods are constantly being developed. Without you knowing these new phishing techniques, you could accidentally fall prey to one of them. Keep your eyes open for new phishing attacks. If you are not aware of minimum techniques your risk of getting caught is much higher. For IT administrators, ongoing phishing security and phishing awareness training are strongly recommended so that all users can monitor the security within the organization.

2. Never click on a suspicious link

You can click on links when you are on trusted sites. However, clicking on links that appear in random emails and instant messages is not a wise decision. Hover your mouse over the link and it will show you where the link really goes. Do they lead where they should lead? A phishing email can come from a reputable company. If you click on the link to the website, it may look like the real website. The e-mail may ask you to enter the information, but your e-mail address may not include your name. Most phishing emails begin with “Dear Customer,” so be careful when you see them. If in doubt, go directly to the source instead of clicking on a potentially dangerous link.

3. Install Phishing Toolbar

Most web browsers can be customized using phishing toolbars. Such toolbars quickly examine websites visited and compare them to lists of known phishing websites. If you encounter a malicious website, you will be notified via the toolbar. This is just another layer of protection against phishing scams and it is totally free.

4. Check for website security

Needless to say, you should be a little cautious when providing sensitive financial information online. But as long as you are on a secure website, you should not have any problems. Before submitting information, make sure that the site URL begins with “https” and that there is a lock icon next to the address bar. Also, check the site’s security certificate. If you receive a message that a particular website may contain malicious files, do not open the website. Never download suspicious email files or websites. Even search engines can display specific links that lead users to a phishing website offering low-cost products. When the user buys on such a website, cybercriminals extract the details of their credit card.

5. Login into your account regularly

If you do not visit your online account for a long time, it is possible for someone to spend a day working with them. Even if you do not need it technically, log in to each of your online accounts regularly. Also, make a habit of changing your passwords regularly. To avoid bank phishing and credit card phishing, you should regularly check your bank statements personally. Get monthly statements for your financial accounts and carefully review each entry to make sure no fraudulent transactions have been made without your knowledge.

6. Keep your browser up-to-date

Most of the popular browsers releases security patches. They do this in order to thwart security vulnerabilities, so that phishers and hackers discover and exploit it inevitably. If you usually do not know about updates to your browsers, stop it. Now, don’t wait for that moment, when an update is available, download and install it.

7. Use Firewalls

High-quality firewalls act as a shield between you and your computer, even hackers continue to spam you. So you must use two different types: a desktop firewall and a network firewall. The first option is a type of software and the second option is a type of hardware. When used together, they greatly reduce the risk of hackers and phishing attacks on your computer or network.

8. Beware of pop-ups

Pop-ups are masquerading as a legitimate part of a website. Too often, these are phishing attempts. Many popular browsers allow you to block pop-ups. You can authorize them on a case-by-case basis. If you manage to sneak in, do not click the “cancel” button; these buttons often lead to phishing sites. Instead, click on the small “x” in the upper corner of the window.

9. Closely guard your personal Information

In general, you should never share sensitive personal or financial information on the Internet. This rule dates back to the days of America Online, where users had to be constantly warned about the success of the first phishing scams. If in doubt, go to the main website of the company in question, get its number and call it. Most phishing emails will direct you to pages where personal or financial information is needed. An Internet user must never make confidential registrations using the links provided in emails. Never send an email with sensitive information to anyone Make it a habit to check the website address. A secure website always starts with “https”.

10. Use antivirus software

There are many reasons to use antivirus software. The special signatures included with the antivirus software protect against workarounds and known technological flaws. Just make sure you keep your software up to date. New definitions are added all the time because new scams are also constantly invented. Anti-spyware and firewall settings should be used to prevent phishing attacks and users should update programs regularly. Firewall protection prevents access to malicious files by blocking attacks. Antivirus software scans each file sent over the Internet to your computer. This helps to prevent damage to your system.


Related Resources: 

HackerCombat Guide on How to Prevent Phishing Attacks

Check Out The Most Disastrous New Phishing Scams of 2018

How to Stay Vigilant Against Phishing Scams

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Don’t Take the Bait! How to Steer Clear of Tax Time Scams

tax time scamsFor cybercriminals tax time is the most wonderful time of the year. They are in the shadows giddy, eager, and methodically setting a variety of digital traps knowing that enough taxpayers take the bait to render their efforts worthwhile.

Indeed, with the frenzy of online tax filings, personal information (and money) moving through mailboxes, and hardworking people eagerly awaiting tax refunds, crooks are perfectly positioned for big returns this year.

So let’s be wiser and let’s be ready.

Last year, the IRS noted a 60 percent spike in bogus email schemes seeking to steal money or tax information. This year its a surge in phishing scams, says the IRS, that should have taxpayers on alert.

“The holidays and tax season present great opportunities for scam artists to try stealing valuable information through fake emails,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “Watch your inbox for these sophisticated schemes that try to fool you into thinking they’re from the IRS or our partners in the tax community. Taking a few simple steps can protect yourself during the holiday season and at tax time.”

Scams to Look For

According to the IRS, phishing emails are circulating with subjects such as “IRS Important Notice,” “IRS Taxpayer Notice” and other iterations of that message. The fraudulent emails may demand payment with the threat of seizing the recipient’s tax refund or even jail time.

tax time scams

Attacks may also use email or malicious links to solicit tax or financial information by posing as a trustworthy organization or even a personal friend or business associate of the recipient.

While some emails may have obvious spelling errors or grammar mistakes, some scammers have gone to great lengths to piece together a victim’s personal information to gain their trust. These emails look legitimate, have an authentic tone, and are crafted to get even skeptics to compromise personal data using malicious web links.

Scams include emails with hyperlinks that take users to a fake site or PDF attachments that may download malware or viruses designed to grab sensitive information off your devices. With the right data in hand such as a social security number, crooks can file fake returns and claim your tax return, open credit cards, or run up medical bills.

Other tax scams include threatening phone calls from bogus IRS agents demanding immediate payment of past due tax bills and robocalls that leave urgent callback messages designed to scare victims into immediate payment.

Remember, the IRS will NOT:

  • Call to demand immediate payment over the phone, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you several bills.
  • Call or email you to verify your identity by asking for personal and financial time scams
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone or
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

How to Protect Yourself

Be hyper-aware. Never open a link or attachment from an unknown or suspicious source. In fact, approach all emails with caution even those from people you know. Scams are getting more sophisticated. According to the IRS, thieves can compromise a friend’s email address, or they may be spoofing the address with a slight change in the email text that is hard to recognize.

Reduce your digital footprint. Now is a great time to go through your social accounts and online profiles, posts, and photos and boost your family’s privacy. Edit out any personal information such as your alma mater, your address, birthdate, pet names, children’s names, or mother’s maiden name. Consider making your social profiles private and filtering your friends’ list to actual people you know.

Have a strong password strategy. Cybercrooks count on their victims using the same password for multiple accounts. Lock them out by using unique passwords for separate accounts. Also, consider using two-factor authentification that requires a security code (sent to your phone) to access your account.

Install security software. Phishing emails carry malware and viruses designed to infect your devices and grab your family’s sensitive data or even seize your computer via ransomware. Crooks aren’t messing around so neither should you. Meet fire with fire by investing in comprehensive security software to protect your devices.

If you are the victim of tax fraud or identity theft, take the proper reporting steps. If you receive any unsolicited emails claiming to be from the IRS, forward them to  (then delete the emails).

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