Phishing has been around for decades, it existed long before the beginning of social media scams or even social media and it is only one of the many ways that scam artists are attempting to steal your data. We live in a society where data is incredibly valuable, so what could happen if someone discovers your specific personal details?
They could cause havoc in your life. They could take over your social media accounts, they could log into your online banking or use your accounts to steal your friends’ data. This is exactly what is happening.
What Is Phishing?
Hacking and scamming come hand in hand, often you need the first to pull off the second. Though there are many forms of hacking such as viruses, trojan horses and worms, one of the most common forms is phishing. Phishing is a form of hacking which requires an active response on the part of the victim. Phishing is a method of obtaining sensitive data from a victim, by acting as a trusted party and convincing the victim to hand over their credentials to the hacker, because they believe the hacker to be someone or something that they trust.
Every day we are asked to login to websites, this requires us making a username and password, and then constantly typing them into an assumed correct login box to access our favorite content. The problem is what happens when we think we are on our trusted website, but it turns out we have been redirected to a malicious copy. This is a form of phishing, and it is the most prevalent form of phishing today. These malicious links started coming in emails asking to verify account details. Luckily, email service providers have gotten pretty good at spotting these and marking them as spam and potentially harmful. But scammers have gotten cleverer. They have found another way to gain your trust.
Social Media Scams
The new technique is to send you a message on Facebook asking, “Is this you?”, and providing a link. That link would take the victim to website which looks exactly like Facebook except is asking for the victim to login before they can see what is supposedly a photo or video of them. This website of course is not actually a real Facebook page, but rather a phony site, run by scammers. All information the victim enters will automatically be saved to the scammers database and then they can use it to login as the victim and send the same link to all the victim’s friends, who now think that this is their friend sending them a link and therefore are more likely to trust it. This sets off a dangerous chain reaction.
How To Not Get Caught?
The flaw in a phishing attempt is that it requires the victim to trust the scammer. They do their best to ensure that the victim is fooled. They will perfectly replicate common websites, they will spoof their name and email address to look like it has come from a friend, but at the end of this all, they still need you to make the mistake. This is where you stop them in their tracks. Make sure you know how to spot a fake Facebook account. First and foremost, do not click on links from any person you do not know personally. If you do know them personally, first ask them what it is about, before clicking it. If a company has sent you a link, rather make contact through a separate method to confirm that it is from them, before clicking on a link. Finally, never give your details to a site which you haven’t personally directed yourself to.
If you remain vigilant and following these methods, you will be a much harder target for scammers.