“Urgent! Your account is about to expire, if you do not reactivate it within the next 24 hours your deposit will be lost. Activate your account here”.
Sounds phishy? Don’t take the bait!
Many of us have received this type of mail at some point or at least we have heard of someone who has. But what is phishing? It simply means tricking unsuspecting recipients to give out personal information like card details or Netbank codes with the purpose of stealing their money.
Luckily there are a few signs that can help you spot a phishing attempt. Here are five quick tips:
1. Did you expect the message and do you know the sender?
When you get a message, you need to consider two things: do you recognise the sender? And is the message unexpected? If the message is from a friend or a family member, you can always call them to confirm that the message is in fact from them.
2. Think twice before opening attachments!
Consider who the message is from. And if there is an attachment to the mail, does it make sense? An important sign of the possible malicious intent of the sender is the file extension – .exe files will run a program and should not be opened, while .jpg and .png files are image files and they are generally safe.
3. Be careful with links
One way to trick you into disclosing your user name and password often is to include a link to a fake website that looks like the sign-in page of a legitimate site. Make sure that you look at the page to see if everything looks right when it comes for example to logotype, language and the information that you are being asked for. If it doesn’t look right, don’t interact with the content in any way!
4. Are you being asked for personal information?
Banks always say that they don’t ask for your account/card information, but have you ever wondered why? It is simply because your bank already knows your account and card information. So this one is easy. If you are being asked for any such information via mail, text message or phone, just say no.
5. How is grammer and speling look?
If you receive a message with poor grammar and obvious mistakes, it is probably a scam. And again, if you are ever in doubt, reach out to the sender for confirmation.
To summarise: it is good to have a healthy dose of scepticism when it comes to mail and text message interaction.
Fake mail - example
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