By Arthur Moses Opio
It is very common during the Holiday period for Phishing scams to skyrocket. This is because it is a busy season where gifts and discounts on different products by different enterprises are offered. The scams can come from anywhere(Europe or even Africa). Hackers know that during this period everyone wants that free iPhone or Samsung product or even shopping vouchers.
What is Phishing?
A quick reminder.
Phishing is when criminals trick users into doing the wrong thing. That could be clicking a link to a dodgy website or downloading an attachment that seems legitimate.
This act could be done via text message, email, social media messages, phone calls, etc.
What kind of Information are the criminals looking for?
These could be bank details, email, and passwords, phone numbers, addresses, etc. all this information is called Personally Identifiable Information(PII).
Tell-Tale Signs of Phishing?
- Have they addressed you in the email by your name or it refers to you as 'valued customer', or 'friend', or 'colleague'? This a red flag, it could be a sign that the sender does not actually know you and that is part of a phishing scam.
- Some scammers will try and create official-looking emails by including logos, graphics, and other pictures they deem fit. Are the designs and quality what you expected? At times we just assume maybe there is something just wrong with the site and that there is nothing wrong, we then end up clicking and we feed in our details.
- Are there veiled threats in the content of the email that asks you to act urgently? Be suspicious of words like 'Send these details within 24 hours' or 'you have been a victim of crime click here immediately'
- Always look at the sender's name and email address. Does it sound legitimate or is it trying to mimic someone you know?
- Your bank or any other official source should never ask you to supply your personal information in an email, if you need to check, call them directly or consult them via their official and know communication channels?
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. It is most unlikely that someone will offer you an iPhone for free or $10 or codes to access Netflix/Films for free.
Make it harder for yourself to be a Target?
We all have a digital footprint. The digital footprint could be information about us on websites or social media. Such information can be explored and exploited by cybercriminals.
Do the following things to enable you to make it harder.
- Review your privacy settings for all your social media accounts and watch what you post online at all times. Think before you post.
- Beware of what your friends, family, and colleagues say about you online. What they say can reveal information about you and such information is valuable to a cybercriminal.
- If you have received an email you are not sure of, alert us or report to the national cert https://www.cert.ug/report-incident