Although you may be an expert at spotting obvious phishing attacks – scams designed to trick consumers into revealing private personal information – sophisticated phishing scams are on the rise, and they can be difficult to detect. The appeal for bank account information from foreign widows who want to leave you their family fortune or requests for wired money from stranded ”friends” who’ve had their passports stolen, are being replaced with new communications designed to lure you in.
Take the recent scam that targeted Verizon Wireless customers. Customers received unsolicited calls to their mobile devices from a number identified as Verizon Wireless technical support and were urged to log onto a dedicated website to receive a special reward of $54. If you provided your login info on this fraudulent site, the hacker could then access your account details, potentially leaving your personal data vulnerable. Swift action on the part of Verizon Wireless shut down this illegitimate site, but it serves as a lesson that scam artists are increasingly crafting convincing messages claiming to be from reputable companies.
Here are some tips to help keep you, your identity, and your data safe from phishing scams:
- Be wary of phone calls, texts and emails that create scare tactics or a sense of urgency for personal information such as credit card numbers, passwords and account data.
- Be careful when providing information over the Internet, and share it only with trusted sites. In many cases, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
- Think before you click. Check where a link is going before you click by hovering your mouse over it and looking at the website address on your browser or status bar. If it appears suspicious, don't click on it. Alternatively, go directly to the company website from your browser and not through any links that appear in emails.
- If you did click on any links and suspect you may have downloaded fraudulent programs, you should immediately run your anti-virus/anti-malware software to help detect any viruses.
Additional information on avoiding phishing scams can be found on Verizon Wireless’ website and News Center. If you receive suspicious calls or emails regarding your Verizon Wireless account or devices, email the details to firstname.lastname@example.org.