“Phishing” is a term that has come about in recent years to describe fraudulent activity online that is intended to gather personal information (such as banking information, system passwords, or other private information). The term is derived from the word “fishing” because this fraud element is attempting to catch your private details through a series of different lures, including emails and fake web pages.
Basically, a phishing scam begins with an email that is designed to get your attention and prompt you to take some kind of action on a subsequent page (such as “logging in” to an email or banking account). While these phishing scams have swindled many people, there are some telltale signs to watch for that can help you identify phishing plots quickly.
Recognizing Phishing Emails
Phishing emails will often give themselves away if you pay close attention to details such as:
- “From” name and/or email address that is not quite right or professional (
- Informal greeting (Dear Sir, Hello Customer, etc)
- Poor spelling and grammar
- Sense of urgency in completing the action requested (Such as changing your password or needing to log “back” in to a private email or banking account)
- Link to a questionable site or one that looks professional but it solely for gathering personal details
How to Tell the Difference Between Fake Web Pages and Real Ones
A critical phase of the phishing process is gathering private, personal details such as passwords or banking information. To do this, phishers will set up a website that their emails or fake ads direct people to for action. For example, a phishing email, framed to look like it could be from your bank, would likely ask you to urgently change your password or log back in to your account by following a link in that email. That link will lead to a page that’s sole purpose is to collect private information for malicious use.
Your bank is likely never going to ask you to use a link to log back in. But the phishing web page might be convincing and may logos or be designed to look and feel very similar to your banking login page-all of which are used to make you think it’s real.
However, you can look for these things to determine if it’s indeed a phishing site:
- The we address starts with http (real, secure company websites will always lead with https)
- Numbers or characters in the web address (such as using a “1” in place of an “l” like paypa1.com)
- Page has no other information or navigation, just fields to collect data
While scammers try very hard to make phishing schemes as real as possible, a main tactic they use is urgency or fear. Playing to these emotions make you feel as though you should take immediate action, and this causes people to miss this signs that give phishers away as frauds.
Raven Computer has over 20 years of trusted experience in cyber security and professional IT support. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help protect you from scammers and fraud.