Many mischievous schemes have been concocted by callous criminals to steal other people’s hard-earned money. In our modern world, crooks no longer have to use force to acquire other people’s assets. They are much more subtle. At times, the victims don’t even notice money left their accounts unauthorized. Criminals find ways to access banking and investment information and then impersonate the victim. It’s easy; you don’t even have to look like the victim once you acquired confidential electronic access information.
One method that arose in the 90s to get to confidential information is called “phishing.” When using this method, a criminal sends out an electronic message, such as an email or a text message, that pretends to be coming from a trustworthy sender, for example the recipient’s bank. The criminal tries to get the recipient of the message to then share confidential information such as access codes to a bank account.
In a typical phishing example, an email informs an individual that there is a problem with the individual’s bank account. Since resolving the issue is of absolute urgency and in the best interest of the individual, the email conveniently offers a link to the bank’s login portal. When clicking the link, the person is taken to a website that looks like the bank’s website, but in reality is a fake. When the individual enters the login information on that fake website, the criminal can now see the confidential username and password of the individual.
Many times, these phishing attempts have been relatively easy to spot because of giveaways like misspellings, faulty grammar, otherwise suspicious text, or the spam filter blocked the target website because it recognized an illegitimate site. Phishing criminals are getting more and more sophisticated. Some sophisticated cyber criminals hack into a legitimate website and use that website’s credentials as their fake landing page. That way, the landing page looks legit and does not raise red flags.
These emails often play on people’s fears by pretending to protect the recipient from criminals. They may even include good advice such as urging the reader to keep anti-virus software up-to-date and to immediately report phishing scams.
To help you avoid falling victim to such phishing scams, here are some useful tips:
Remember to constantly guard your electronic access information. It is an acquired frame of mind. We don’t pretend to be experts in this field, but wanted to share a few pointers that have helped us in the past.