What Are The Most Common Intelligent Tactics Used By The Scammers To Carry Out Common Phishing Scams
Phishing is one way through which fraudsters, identity thieves, and scammers steal information. Social engineering or deception are the tools used by these scammers to trick the users into divulging confidential and personal information. According to the targets, we can classify these phishing attacks into various groups.
Avoid Being A Victim Of Phishing Scams
Before we proceed, it is crucial to take a look at the dangers of phishing and why it is vital to take appropriate security measures. People who fall victim to common phishing scams often find it extremely difficult to recover. The main reason why victims can face serious consequences is that hackers gain access to all their personal, banking, and social information.
With this kind of personal information at their disposal, hackers can do anything they wish. They can post obscene content in their social media accounts and create a bad name for the victims. They can even use victim’s accounts to post messages against the government or use them to carry out other nefarious agenda.
The only way to avoid being a victim of phishing frauds is to stay alert and protect your information at all costs. Some standard phishing measures like installing an anti-phishing software can be of great help in countering these phishing attacks.
Credit Card Phishing Scams
With the unfolding digital revolution, today, everyone can quickly check their credit card information from their mobile phones. But with the rapid advancement of technology, comes the threat of more sophisticated and advanced phishing scams.
Most of the people browse the internet casually and don’t consider taking necessary precautions to safeguard their accounts from phishing scams. Many people still believe that any e-mail that bears the name of their credit card company name is genuine.
It is where hackers exploit unsuspecting persons and create phishing campaigns to steal all sensitive information from them. Hackers come up with various kind of credit card phishing scams to trick people.
The success of any phishing scam lies in how well planned is the layout of the spoof e-mail or website. That is why people need to be alert and sensible all the time when clicking links in an e-mail and downloading attachments. Let’s look at how hackers carry out phishing scams based on credit cards.
Impersonating Genuine Credit Card Companies
A person using credit cards receives occasional e-mails about their monthly statements, offers, and deals from their credit card company. Phishers use this to their advantage and create spoof e-mails that impersonate these credit card companies. Most of the time, the e-mails users receive regarding their credit card is for payment reminders, latest deals, offers, etc. But when they receive an e-mail that conveys an added level of urgency, it is a red signal. Most of the phishing e-mails contain content which requires urgent call-for-action. Hackers use this urgency to initiate prompt and quick action from the users without giving them any time to think of the consequences.
Spoof E-mails Carry Malicious Links And Forms
Spoof e-mails come in various intelligent designs. Some hackers use forms in the e-mails that request personal information. Some include links in the e-mails that lead to spoof websites which collect personal information.
Mostly, spoof e-mails contain malicious links than forms. Hence, users need to be careful when opening links in e-mails from their banks and credit card companies.
Even if an e-mail looks completely genuine, there is a need for extreme caution when clicking on any links enclosed. The link can turn out to be malicious, and only a complete check can ensure whether the e-mail is legitimate.
Spoof Credit Card Websites Which Are Intelligently Designed
Hackers use many tools and techniques to create spoof websites that impeccably resemble the original ones. Average users can find it difficult to spot a spoof e-mail or website.
The shortage of time to invest in cybersecurity measures is the primary reason why people fall victim to such scams. Most of them won’t give much importance to appropriate cybersecurity measures.
Bank Phishing Scams
Hackers involved in phishing attacks often target bank customers and people working in financial sectors. In this digital age, people monitor their bank accounts from their laptops and mobile phones. Even though most of the people keep their bank information confidential, hackers use various methods to gain access to this information. Every year, thousands of people related to the banking sector fall victim to the following common phishing scams.
Spoof Bank E-mails
One of the common phishing scams related to bank customers is to use the spray and pray approach. It means hackers send out hundreds of e-mails to users and wait for innocent people to fall into their trap. These spoof bank e-mails are meticulously designed that look almost identical to genuine bank e-mails. Hackers take advantage of the trust which people pose into the banking e-mails and how they consider every e-mail with their bank’s logo as legitimate.
The perfect way to avoid being a victim of these bank phishing scams is to be alert and sensible all the time. People need to treat every e-mail sent from banks and credit card companies as phishing e-mails.
People need to be extremely careful with e-mails that ask for their bank account and other personal information. In case of a doubt, it is better to check with the bank website. A much better option would be to contact the authorities concerned to clarify the details.
Spoof Bank Websites
Phishing e-mails contain links that redirect users to malicious websites. Similarly, spoof bank websites also trick people as they impersonate real bank websites. A crucial tell-tale sign of a phishing website is pop-up windows asking for user credentials.
Hackers and phishers make use of various scripts and programs to create these pop-up windows that come with the same colors and text that banks use. But no bank will ask for user credentials using pop-up windows. The best possible way to avoid being a victim to phishing scams is not to click any links from e-mails that may lead to suspicious websites.
Chase Bank Phishing Scam
Chase Bank scam is one of the most famous bank phishing scams. A larger bank acquired the Bank One of Indiana. The acquisition sowed the seeds for the fraud. Phishers started collecting the e-mail addresses of Bank One customers and used the information to their advantage.
Similar to other phishing scams, phishers sent spoof e-mails resembling the ones posted by the bank. The e-mail induced a sense of urgency in the minds of the customers. It further added that unless they provide the required information, their accounts will get suspended.
The Chase bank scam is one of the best examples to showcase how phishers can easily fool people. The Chase Bank spoof e-mails sported the logos, name, and text precisely like the ones used by the e-mails sent by the bank. Hence, it was difficult for anyone to identify it as a spoof e-mail at first look.
E-mail Phishing Scams
E-mail is one of the primary weapons used in most of the common phishing scams. Spoof e-mail messages trick thousands of people around the world into revealing their bank account details and personal information. Phishing attacks came to the fore with the attack on AOL customers in 1996.
Adversaries used E-mail messages and text messages (SMS) to carry out the AOL phishing attacks. New and sophisticated phishing techniques are always in the development phase, but old methods are still in vogue.
Companies like eBay and PayPal are putting a lot of efforts to fight e-mail-based phishing attacks. In the next section, we’ll describe more about e-mail phishing and how victims fall into the traps set by hackers.
What Is E-mail Phishing?
E-mail Phishing is a fraudulent attempt by hackers to send out spoof e-mail messages to users to trick them into revealing their personal and financial details. These spoof e-mails are carefully designed to mimic e-mails sent from legitimate sources.
Hackers collect e-mail addresses of people using certain services and send spoof e-mails to these users. When these unsuspecting users receive an e-mail that looks similar to the ones they receive regularly, it doesn’t create any doubt in their minds. But they don’t know that these e-mails will lead to malicious websites and all details entered there will get misused against them.
Why E-mail Phishing Works?
Phishers know precisely how to create e-mails that mimic the real ones. Add some sense of urgency in the content, and the scam becomes a huge success! Not everyone takes the time and headache to check whether it is a phishing e-mail or not. The main reason behind this is that people lack adequate training to look at every e-mail as a phishing e-mail.
Based on the success of a previous phishing campaign, attackers plan their next move very carefully.
Signs Of E-mail Phishing Attempts
There are various signs of identifying phishing e-mails. The first thing anyone needs to check is the greeting in the e-mail. Check whether it has a generic greeting or a specific greeting involving your name.
If the e-mail comes with a generic greeting message, then it means that multiple persons received the e-mail. Also, check the e-mail header and the sender’s e-mail address.
We can quickly identify most of the phishing e-mails. If the sender of the e-mail id is not a real one, then it should be a phishing e-mail.
Examples Of Successful E-mail Phishing Campaigns
Phishers were able to execute various phishing attacks successfully in the past, and some of the widespread attacks include the AOL, eBay, and PayPal scams. Customers of these companies received e-mails that looked 100% original.
The phishing e-mail messages urged the customers to confirm their account details or credit card numbers. Unsuspecting customers fell into the trap and provided their bank account information and credit card details.
Now both eBay and PayPal offer information and advice to their customers about the common phishing scams.
Be Vigilant And Proactive In Reporting These Phishing Attempts
There is no single foolproof method to avoid being a victim to these phishing attacks. Anyone can expect these e-mail messages in their inbox, and the best way to prevent these attacks is to avoid these e-mails or stop clicking on the links in these e-mail messages.
Never click on a link in an e-mail to visit a website, but ensure that you type in the URL manually after opening a new browser window. People receiving spoof e-mail messages can report them to the original companies so that they can alert other users as well.
Website Phishing Scams
Not every website out there is genuine and just blindly assuming that a site is authentic can cause many problems in the long run. People who fall victim to website phishing scams can get into serious trouble.
Phishers who gain access to personal and bank details of a customer can use that information for malicious purposes. Identity theft is one of the significant consequences of these phishing scams. Victims take a lot of time and resources to recover from such attacks.
Users need to remember the following signs that represent a spoof website:
Sense Of Urgency
Banks, credit card companies, or other legitimate companies don’t send e-mails with a sense of urgency in it. Even for payment reminder or when people default payments, there won’t be some unusual urgency in the e-mail.
Hence, when people receive e-mails that ask them to act immediately, then they need to recheck the URL provided in the e-mail. Hackers believe that if there is no sense of urgency in the e-mail, then the user may take it lightly and won’t act accordingly.
Another tell-tale sign that helps in identifying a phishing website is that some hurriedly designed fake websites come with inferior designs. But legitimate sites are carefully created and come with sleek designs. Therefore, if you see a website that contains amateur design and content, then there is a good chance, it might be a spoof website.
Professional companies create websites of banks and credit card companies. Hence, it is hard to find any spelling errors or mistakes in the content.
Especially when you visit a website that is related to financial information, scan through the website, and see if the content is professional. If the website lacks professional design or contains glaring errors, then it is better to leave the site immediately.
Another sign that tells users that a website is fake is when it bombards them with pop-up windows now and then. Most of the people use pop-up blockers to prevent phishing websites from scamming them. Some sites can still sneak through these blockers. Hence, people need to be careful before providing their information on these websites.
Most of the legitimate websites that deal with financial information are highly reliable and have the “https” tag associated with it. Even though there are tools available to associate an https tag with spoof websites, still, it is a good practice to check for the https tag.
Another thing that users need to check for is the URL of the website. Most of the spoofed websites come with a URL that imitates real businesses. Some of the spoofed websites that we encountered include Amaz0n for Amazon, Nikeoutlet for Nike, Visihow for Wikihow, etc. Check the domain extensions too. Even though .com and .net are the most common extensions, not all websites that have a .com domain are legitimate. Similarly, not all sites that come with a .biz or .info are spoofed websites.
Another sign that tells people that a website is not genuine is the contact page. Legitimate sites provide clear and precise contact information, including contact e-mail address, contact phone numbers, and preferred contact timings, etc. If there is no useful information available on the contact page, then there is a chance that the website is not legitimate.
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