6 Ways to Spot Sign of Phishing Scam that can save you from financial loss

written by Lim Zhi Min
16 · 5 · 2121

‘Phishing not fishing.’ 

Phishing is a cybercrime. Cyber criminals use fraudulent method to obtain your personal and financial information such as your login details, bank account numbers and credit card numbers.

Normally the target or targets are contacted by email, instant messaging 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.

Once cyber criminals obtain your personal information, they could gain access to your online accounts, and even impersonate you to scam the people around you, such as your family, friends and business partners.

So What is your level of cybercrime awareness? If there is a pending phishing attack, will you be able to spot?

If you are able to pick up signs of phishing, you can better protect yourself and your loved ones against phishing scams.

As cyber criminals increasingly come up with more  convincing and sophisticated methods of phishing,  it become more prevalent that before that we must be prepared for what might come our way. To prevent yourself from becoming a victim of phishing scams, learn to spot the signs of phishing.

With an internet penetration rate of 82% in 2020, 2nd highest within Southeast Asian region, its no wonder cyber criminal are eyeing Singapore.

Are you able to Spot sign of Phishing?

Lets take a deep dive into 6 ways to look out for phishing

Mismatched and misleading information

Cyber criminals will try to mislead you into thinking that the information you see is genuine and authentic

For emails, look out for a sender’s email address that may look similar to a company’s official email address. Hover your mouse cursor over links in emails. When your mouse cursor hovers over a link, a small window will appear above the link to show you the actual URL, which is the real destination of the link. If the links are mismatched, it is a strong indicator that something ‘phishy’ is going on. If you are using a mobile device, long-press the link to display a window with the actual URL. Be careful not to tap and open the link!

For websites, don’t be deceived by how they look. Cyber criminals can easily create phishing websites that are visually similar to legitimate websites. To distinguish the two, take note of the URL in the address bar of your web browser. Cyber criminals often use tricks such as substituting letters in a URL to mislead you into thinking that you are on a legitimate website e.g. www.singpost1.com instead of www.singpost.com

Use of urgent or threatening language
By pressuring you to respond quickly or issuing ultimatums, these cyber criminals  want to instil panic and anxiety to deceive you into supplying confidential details. Be suspicious of emails with key phrases like  ‘urgent action required’ or ‘your account will be terminated’.  If you have valid reason to believe this is a scam, delete the message right away.
Promises of attractive rewards
Fake offer of fantastic bargains or incredible prizes are typically used by cyber criminals to motivate you to take action quickly. If, all that you need to do is simply to click on a pop-up or complete an email questionnaire to win a totally free trip to United States, then it really is safe to assume  that it must be a phishing scam.  Keep in mind old proverb saying, ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is’.

Requests for confidential information

Most organisations will never request your personal details such as NRIC, sign in credentials and credit card details to be sent over the web. In the event the sender claims to be from your financial institution and demands  for your personal bank account, it ought to raise a warning sign right away. During times of uncertainty, get in touch with the organization straight away to clarify, but  make sure  never to  use the  contact details supplied in the email.
Unexpected emails
Cyber criminals often try their luck by sending mass emails to large number of people, in hopes that somebody responds. In the event you get an email about an invoice for an product you probably did not buy, do not click on the hyperlinks and attachments and delete the email right away.
Suspicious attachments
Cyber criminals will attach an attachments inside their emails as a technique to infect a user’s device with malware and steal their data. It might be instinctive to open up the attachments but it is very important exercise caution. Watch out for dubious attachment names and file types. If the attachment something that you have no recollection of or uses an uncommon file type  such as .exe, deleted it straight away.

By keeping these six signs in mind and remaining vigilant at all times, you are able to  steer away from falling for phishing scams

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