Phishing refers to fraudsters posing as representatives from reputable companies, sending emails to individuals to induce them to reveal their personal information. Phishing is on the rise and it is costing businesses.
Phishing emails can appear in many different forms. They can be broad or targeted, they can also be delivered across several communication platforms. For example, an email may be followed up by a phone call. As awareness of phishing scams grows, their delivery has become more sophisticated.
The Australian Cyber Security Centre reported that in 2016-17 the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) recorded losses of over $20 million due to business email compromised through targeted phishing emails. Concerningly, this represents a 230% increase from the previous year, when ACORN recorded $8.6 million in losses.
Whilst many people may have a general understanding of the threat posed by phishing, the growing sophistication of phishing emails requires a deeper understanding to avoid being hooked.
So, how can you avoid being caught? Here are 5 tips:
1. Keep abreast of the news
Scammers are constantly coming up with new tricks and techniques. Stay up-to-date on the latest developments so you know what to look out for.
2. Check twice before you click
Always beware of links in emails. Try hovering over the link before you click – is there anything suspicious about the address? If you are in any doubt, go directly to the provider’s website instead of clicking any suspicious links in the email.
3. Never give out personal information
Many phishing emails pose as service providers asking you to confirm your personal details. They may include a link that will take you to a website that is very similar to the genuine service provider. Be particularly careful of emails that imply urgency – scammers may want to you act quickly before you notice anything suspicious.
4. Double check attachments
Some phishing emails may include attachments that contain ransomware or other viruses. If you see an attachment you were not expecting or does not make sense, do not open it.
5. Unknown sender
Check the sender’s name carefully – is that their usual address? Is their name spelled correctly? If anything looks out-of-place or suspicious, don’t open the email.