How to avoid phishing attacks

Phishing attacks are criminal attempts to fool people into giving up personal information by sending fake emails that look like they’re from well-known companies and organisations. A prime example are emails sent out during tax time requesting tax file numbers, bank account numbers, and other sensitive data that can be used to defraud you.

Here are some suggestions and advice to consider so you don’t fall victim to a phishing attack:

  1. No reputable organisation is going to request this type of information via email.
  2. Be suspicious about any email you receive, even those sent to you by friends or family.
  3. Be very suspicious of any email you receive that has an attachment. Don’t open any attachment, no matter what it’s supposed to contain, unless you’re absolutely sure it is something you want to view.
  4. Don’t be frightened or rushed into doing anything. If you do open an email purportedly from a government agency or some other authority, don’t be bullied into responding simply because you’re given a deadline or threatened with a kind of penalty.
  5. Do your research. You can use Google to search the email’s subject line then analyse the results. If you see anything suspicious popping up, then immediately delete the email.
  6. Pick up the phone. Here’s an old school option: use your phone to talk to the party that sent you the email. Be sure you get the phone number from another correspondence, not from the email or website.
  7. Study the links before you click on them. If the link looks suspicious, then it probably is.
  8. Install security software like Trend Micro Device Security Pro that blocks phishing attacks and advises you of any potential threats.
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