Have you ever opened an email from your bank telling you that your account shows a fraudulent activity so “click here”to rectify it? Did you even look twice before clicking? Two days later did the money on your account suddenly disappear? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions you have been a victim of cyber crime and more specifically phishing.
Now don’t get confused..I did not make a typo and meant to write fishing! Even if technically that is exactly what cyber criminals are doing: fishing on unsuspecting victims and taking all they have. Phishing is the act of attempting to acquire information such as usernames, passwords and credit card information by masquerading as a trustworthy entity. In other words they use emails and even phone calls and text, make it seem so real that you don’t even think twice about following instructions.
Throughout the week I wondered how best do I write a blog on phishing. And then it struck me: I was almost a victim of phishing myself only one week before learning about phishing! I was lying in bed on a lazy Saturday morning when my phone rang. I looked at the strange number: Texas area code, the next three numbers looked like those from a company that called me just that same week; seemed real enough. So I answered. The voice on the other line said they were calling from Bank of America and that a hold had been put on my account ending 7304. I was instructed to press 1 in order to speak to a representative in order to rectify the situation. I was taken aback and felt like I needed to hear the recording again. So I waited a few seconds; waiting for the recording to be repeated or to give me the option of pressing another number to repeat. Nothing! Then to my surprise the call suddenly ended. I was confused but decided I would call my banker or even go to the bank to find out what was going on. Then it struck me: the numbers did not sound like my bank account number! But I decided to double check anyway. Lo and behold my number was not even close to the four digits the call told me about! I wondered what would have happened if I had gone ahead and pressed 1. Then I remembered that I was told just two days prior to be aware of fake emails claiming to be from Bank of America! Imagine that huh!
Cyber crime affects millions of persons every day around the world. Unsuspecting persons click anxiously on links which promise them money, or tell them that their accounts have been compromised so click to rectify. Many lose their life savings because they tend not to pay close attention to the emails they receive or even attempt to verify with the bank or company that the email claims to have come from. In the modern age of technology where everything is computerized, this makes it so much easier for cyber crimes to take place. Hackers sit at their computers and look for flaws in the financial systems of banks, retail companies etc or even in simple ways such as how they send emails to their customers. They also use links to lure the unsuspecting to go to sites masqueraded as shopping sites so that these consumers enter credit card information. With the card information now in the hands of the cyber criminals, consumers now lose all their savings or run up credit card debts even before they could call their banks or even realize what happened. After gathering information these Hackees now use this knowledge on many unsuspecting persons.
Cyber crimes appear like they will never end as long as technology continues to be at the forefront of our everyday lives. Persons now need to be more aware of emails and phone calls which they receive. Many sites have now put in place many security systems which are aimed at allowing their customers to surf, use credit cards or access bank accounts in a secure environment. Customers are usually made aware of these security measures to look for when they use the sites. Software companies have now increased the complexity of their online security software before selling it to their consumers. Phishing awareness has picked up greatly in the last few years. But many persons still become victims of cyber criminals. all because they are not cautious or do not pay enough attention. So the next time you hit the waters of the internet for a little fun time, always be careful where you phish!
Want to know more about what to look for when it comes to phishing? Click here! http://1.usa.gov/2M5L0L (Don’t worry it’s safe 🙂 )