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What is Phishing?

Phishing is a type of cybercrime where criminals attempt to steal personal information such as passwords and credit card numbers by impersonating a legitimate company or authority. This type of fraud relies on social engineering techniques and often involves sending fraudulent emails, SMS messages and even phone calls, masquerading as a familiar or respected organization.

The most common example of phishing involves sending an email with the subject line “You have an outstanding balance” or “Account data compromised”. These emails usually include a link which directs the recipient to a webpage, which requests sensitive information such as bank account details or passwords. The webpage may look exactly like a legitimate website, making it difficult to differentiate between genuine and malicious content.

To protect yourself against phishing attempts, it is important to be vigilant when you receive any kind of electronic communication, regardless of how believable it may appear. If the sender is claiming to be someone you know or a company that you use regularly, take a minute to verify the message before you follow any instructions or provide any personal information.

It is also important to pay attention to the website you are directed to. Examine the website carefully for typos or other minor mistakes – legitimate sites will be professionally and accurately written. Also, if the website is asking for payment information, check the URL to make sure it’s a safe website. If you are ever in doubt, contact the organization that is supposedly sending you the communication to confirm if it is legitimate or not.

By exercising caution, and taking steps to verify the source of any communication, you can protect yourself from becoming a victim of phishing.

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