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How To Spot Phishing in 2024: Protect Yourself Online

Updated: Apr 11

male employee working on computer

Recognizing phishing attempts is crucial for safeguarding your online security. Cybercriminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated, using various tactics to deceive unsuspecting victims. Let’s dive into how you can spot phishing attacks and stay one step ahead:

What Is Phishing?

Phishing is a type of scam where fraudsters impersonate trusted brands, companies, or individuals to gain your trust. Their goal? To trick you into revealing sensitive information, sending money, or clicking on malicious links. Don’t fall victim to their schemes! Here’s how to spot the warning signs:

  1. Unsolicited Communications: Be wary of unexpected calls, emails, texts, or messages. Scammers cast a wide net, hoping to engage even a small percentage of recipients. If you weren’t expecting it, consider it a red flag.

  2. Urgency and Emotional Appeals: Phishing messages often create a sense of urgency. They might claim your account is compromised, your payment is overdue, or you’ve won a prize. If it elicits an emotional response or pressures you to act immediately, proceed with caution.

  3. Look-Alike Addresses and Profiles: Check sender email addresses, phone numbers, or profiles. Scammers mimic well-known companies or individuals. Watch out for slight variations—like an email address resembling Microsoft but with a subtle difference.

  4. Grammar and Spelling Mistakes: Many scammers operate from non-English-speaking countries. Typos, awkward language, and unprofessional formatting are telltale signs of phishing attempts.

  5. Suspicious Links: Hover over links in unsolicited messages. Verify their destination before clicking. If the URL seems unrelated to the company or looks fishy, steer clear.

  6. Gift Card Requests: Scammers often demand gift cards or other non-reversible payments. Legitimate organizations rarely ask for payment this way.

13 Types of Phishing Attacks in 2024

As scammers enhance their tactics, new types of phishing attacks emerge. Here are some to watch out for:

  1. Spear Phishing: Targeted attacks customized for specific individuals or organizations.

  2. Vishing (Voice Phishing): Fraudulent phone calls aiming to extract sensitive information.

  3. Smishing (SMS Phishing): Phishing via text messages.

  4. Clone Phishing: Scammers duplicate legitimate emails, altering them slightly to deceive recipients.

  5. Whaling: Targeting high-profile individuals (CEOs, executives) for maximum impact.

  6. Business Email Compromise (BEC): Impersonating company executives to manipulate employees.

  7. Credential Harvesting: Luring victims to fake login pages to steal usernames and passwords.

  8. Malware-Based Phishing: Delivering malicious software via email attachments or links.

  9. Search Engine Phishing: Manipulating search results to lead victims to malicious sites.

  10. Angler Phishing: Exploiting social media platforms.

  11. Watering Hole Attacks: Targeting websites frequented by specific user groups.

  12. Ransomware Phishing: Encouraging victims to download ransomware.

  13. Zero-Day Phishing: Exploiting unknown vulnerabilities.

Stay vigilant, educate yourself, and report suspicious activity promptly. By mastering the art of spotting phishing attempts, you’ll protect your finances, identity, and peace of mind.

Remember: When in doubt, verify before you click!

Runbiz is here to help keep your organization safe. Reach out to learn how our proactive approach to IT keeps you and your team educated and protected from threats.


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