Why would Netflix suddenly give you an offer to upgrade your plan for a year without paying anything? You are, after all, one of its millions of subscribers. But maybe you are lucky enough because Netflix has promised you an upgrade if you provide your bank account details. You happily give away your debit card number, CVV number, and expiry date, thinking that the upgrade will take place in minutes.
And bam! As soon as you give away these details, you get consecutive text messages on your mobile saying your bank account was debited with so and so dollars. You are flabbergasted. Netflix not only did not upgrade your subscription but also took away most of the money from your bank account.
This is a common story you’d hear from people who have experienced phishing attacks. The offers are so attractive that you are ready to give away your bank details and other sensitive information. And that’s where all the problems lie. Cybercriminals are always on the lookout for ways to take away money from your account by luring you into these unbelievable giveaways. But how will you avoid these phishing activities? Here are some of the best ways to spot phishing attacks and what you can do to protect yourself.
1. Be careful when clicking links
Ads on some torrent platforms, less popular video streaming services, and shady-looking websites are usually full of suspicious links that claim to provide various offers. Don’t ever click on these links. The rule of thumb is when in doubt, just avoid clicking any link. You may only do so if you’re using a trusted website like eDailyStar. No matter how tempting it is to check the offer, don’t fall for these too-good-to-be-true claims.
2. Update your browser
You often see messages on your computer saying “New Updates Available.” Make sure you update the browsers you use on your PC. Every update comes with the latest security patches to cover the security loopholes that may lead to online phishing.
3. Ignore pop-ups
You will see many websites that welcome you with a popup message that says “Read Me First.” These are traps set by scammers. As soon as you click on the message, the site redirects you to spammy sites containing virus files. If you go on to download those files, you may very well expect to see all your money disappear in a few seconds. Don’t ever click on these popup messages or download suspicious files on your computer or mobile.
4. Install an anti-phishing toolbar
You can customize your browser by adding an anti-phishing toolbar. These toolbars run quick scans on every site that you visit. If you happen to open a malicious website, the toolbar will alert you about any suspicious activities. This serves as an additional layer of protection to prevent phishing attacks.
5. Don’t open suspicious emails
Phishing can take place via emails also. You might see a well-known brand giving away $25,000 to selected customers if you send them your bank details or other personal information. Never respond to such emails. Mark them as SPAM and delete them from your inbox immediately.
It’s possible to avoid phishing attacks only if you are careful with how you go about using the web and your computer. Cybercriminals now use clever ways to fool you into falling for their malicious intentions, but by sticking to trusted websites, software, and applications, you equip yourself with the necessary protection against any kind of unscrupulous activity.