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Identity Phishing and How to Protect Yourself

Identity Phishing

Identity phishing attacks take place everywhere. According to Kaspersky, the online security firm, close to 800 billion attacks were repelled in the year 2015, which approximately 2 million were attempts to take money from bank accounts online.

Fraudwatch International, an online fraud protection service, shows recent sites utilized for phishing include Dropbox, Wells Fargo Bank, Microsoft OneDrive, Chase Bank, and WhatsApp.

Favored among hackers is Internet Service Provider (ISP). Scammers bust into ISP accounts in larger numbers than financial and banking institutions, according to Anti-Phishing Working Group. Hackers use these ISP accounts to send spam as well as steal credit card information, personal identity details, and other information. Here’s how to protect yourself from identity theft.

Protect yourself from identity phishing with the following tips:

  • If unsure of the sender’s authenticity, never open embedded links or attachments; either of these may result in malware installation. Rather, directly enter the URL into an address bar from a new browser. Many times, a phishing website looks identical as an original site, confirm the address by checking the address bar.
  • Likewise, never send confidential information by way of the form attached or embedded to an email message. Often, senders are capable of tracking information you entered.
  • Be cautious of emails requesting financial information. Email requesting a wire transfer, reminders of updating your email address, or alerts about unsuccessful transactions are persuasive. Scammers rely on the urgency of an email message to hide the fraud potential.
  • Never fall for scare tactics. Often, phishers attempt to pressure you into giving confidential information by using threats to suspend services until certain information is updated or disable an account. To confirm the requests authenticity, contact the business directly.
  • Be careful with information requests that look generic. Numerous phishing emails start with “Dear Sir or Madam.” Several come off a bank where you never held an account.
  • Be suspicious of social media requests from individuals you do not know. As per research from Kaspersky Lab, Facebook is the target for more than 1 in 5 phishing emails. Phishers count on your interest to “see who they are” by clicking on the individual’s profile. However, malware can be triggered in phishing emails with every link, including images.
  • Avoid emails with misspellings and typos.
  • Ensure you update and maintain reliable software to fight against phishing.

Staying knowledgeable and implementing intelligent fraud prevention routines can be very helpful towards keeping your identity protected online against thieves. Making sure your email provider and computer have the latest malware and virus protection can help tremendously.  Ask us about security precautions you can take today.