As a resident of Illinois or anywhere else, you may find yourself the target of phishing. This is a type of scam that targets people while they are online. It’s important to know what phishing entails and how you can be wary of it.
What is phishing?
Phishing is a form of fraud that involves duping a person into unknowingly volunteering his or her most sensitive information over the internet. When a criminal is guilty of the crime, his or her goal is to commit identity theft and use the data they obtain to his or her advantage.
Usually, phishing is done by using a fake email, text message or even a website to fool a person. If a target is not very savvy, or the phishing method is particularly sophisticated, it can result in a lot of damage being done and the person’s personal, and even financial, information being compromised.
People who rely on phishing to steal personal data often end up using or selling the information they obtain on the dark web or to other criminals. In some cases, the criminal may even use ransomware that can allow him or her to gain full access to a victim’s computer or network. Victims may be so desperate to regain access to their important files that they may pay the criminal a ransom in exchange for it.
How can you recognize phishing attempts?
A person who commits phishing scams needs a good criminal defense strategy as these crimes are taken very seriously due to the way they can completely disrupt a person’s life. You can recognize an attempt at phishing by being aware of the following tips.
- If an offer seems too good to be legitimate, it probably is. If you get an email claiming something exceptionally good that urges you to click a link, beware.
- Unknown or unusual senders should be avoided. Whenever you’re in doubt, you should avoid replying to a message or clicking on a link. You may want to simply delete the message or mark it as spam.
- Strange messages with attachments or links are common with phishing attempts. Never open an attachment or link from a sender you don’t recognize.
- Odd spellings of URLs should send red flags. Criminals often use a web address that looks like a legitimate site but often misspell or replace a single character in the site’s name. Be very careful and double-, or even triple-, check anything that even remotely appears suspicious.
Be wary of any websites that have pop-ups that immediately appear. They are often there to trick you into offering sensitive information.
It’s healthy to have some suspicion while you’re online. If something appears off, avoid or delete it, and never click on anything.