7 ways to protect yourself against phishing scams

Spam and phishing come in many different types and from many mediums. We think we’re smart enough to spot scams, but every now and then, a person or a group may trick you into giving out personal information. Avoid this exploitation by following these seven (7) ways to protect yourself against phishing scams.

1. Don’t click links you don’t recognize

Some people are sent hundreds of emails a day with links to visit websites. If you get an email from a contact you do not recognize with a link to a website that looks suspicious, don’t click it. Thankfully, most email addresses have filters to protect against spam, but every now and then one may get through. Here are some examples of scams to watch out for.

2. Don’t enter information on a pop-up screen

Large reputable organizations do not ask for personal information on a popup screen on a website. If you are prompted to give information other than an email address — such as credit card, bank account number, or social security number — do not give the information. The website could be a fake.

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3. Don’t answer a call from a number you don’t recognize

cell phoneThis is a tricky one because sometimes we have to answer these calls, especially for work. If you do have to answer, and it seems suspicious, then ask validating questions. If you don’t want these calls, most cell phones have an option to block unknown callers and send them directly to voicemail. If you turn this on, you will not be bothered by spam messages. This also saves you from recorded telemarketers, too.

4. Don’t text back to a spam message

Some spam messages are response sensitive. If you reply back to a message such as “STOP” or “Opt Out,” it may understand that the number is a real and active number. Not responding may save you from further messages.

You can report spam messages by copying and sending them to “7726” (SPAM) or report it to the Federal Trade Commission.

5. Have multi-factor authentication

Multi-factor authentication is a further way to prove your identity with login credentials. Other than sign-in credentials there could also be a security question or a text message to your personal cell phone with a code. This further way to protect your identity keeps hackers from only using your login information.

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6. Select to have anti-spam software or a phishing filter on your browsers

In Google Chrome, as an example, you can ensure malware and phishing protection is enabled by going to…

  • Advanced Settings or chrome://settings/
  • Click the “Privacy  and Security” tab on the left
  • Go down and select “Security”
  • “Standard protection” should be selected.
  • BONUS: You may select “Enhanced Protect” if you want to further keep your information safe.

Other website browsers have similar privacy settings you can enable. Having these filters will help increase safety while searching the internet.

7. Report spam

If you got a phishing email, forward it to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at reportphishing@apwg.org. Reporting this information will increase help the investigation of finding the people behind these scams. Also, tell your friends about potential scams so they can keep their information safe as well.

Grey Wolf Security specializes in Security Operations, Security Compliance, and Security Engineering. Our professionals have experience within the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Law Enforcement, Intelligence Community and Commercial organizations. Contact us and let’s collect your digital evidence today.