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Phishing scams to watch for in 2020

| February 06, 2020, 11:11 AM

One of the most popular ways of deceiving people is through phishing scams.

The digitization of our world has made it easy for fraudsters to lure people into giving out their sensitive information as well as money. This is a global problem that is affecting a lot of people. In the US alone, there were over 1.4 million frauds reported in 2018, where over $1.48 billion was lost.

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Below are some of the most common phishing scams you should be aware of as well as how you can avoid them.

  1. Amazon Prime Day phishing scam

Fraudsters are using topics that generate an automatic reaction to trick people easily.

Amazon’s annual Prime Day is one of the biggest shopping days in the eCommerce industry. Phishers are taking advantage of the popularity of Amazon Prime Day to scam people. They send fake emails to unsuspecting Prime members. This method is popular because it involves a DIY phishing kit, which makes it easy for even amateur scammers to use it.

The fake email features a PDF attachment that contains various links. When you click the links, they will take you to a site that looks similar to the Amazon login page. This is an illegitimate site that has been designed to get information such as your name, home address, credit/debit card, etc. This is enough information the attacker can use to commit identity fraud.

One of the easiest ways to stay safe from this phishing scam is to avoid clicking links in an email and instead visit the site manually.

  1. Netflix phishing scam

Scammers are designing phishing emails to steal personal and financial details from Netflix’s customers.

The fake emails feature a popular subject line and a suggestive message that indicates that there is an issue with your subscription. To create an urge of urgency, the scammer will prompt you to click a button to update your account. If you click the button, you will be taken to a fake Netflix website that will require to fill your personal information.

The best way to avoid these Netflix phishing scams is to use a VPN. However, Netflix uses stringent measures to block the use of VPNs to access its service. Therefore, it is essential to check whether the VPN is working with Netflix. Some of the best VPNs that work with Netflix include ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, NordVPN, etc.

  1. Apple ID phishing scam

In most cases, the Apple ID phishing email will contain an alarming subject line like ‘Payment Statement’ or ‘Receipt Orders’. This is to make you think that a payment has been made using your credit card. This will make you rush into canceling the order to avoid losing money. If you click the link or open the attached file, you will be asked to provide your information for verification.

Even though sometimes it can be very difficult to identify these phishing scams, there are some warning signs that will enable you to spot a phishing email.

These warning signs are the following:

      • Grammar and spelling mistakes
      • Malicious links and short URLs
      • Dubious attachment
      • Verify your personal information through email
      • Suspicious recipient

To avoid phishing attempts, you should never open any attachment or click a link to a questionable website. Also, use two-factor authentication when logging in into your account.

  1. Tax phishing scam

Thousands of people have lost their personal information and money to tax phishing frauds. Cybercriminals impersonate tax agencies such as the IRS in the US and the HMRC in the UK. They use regular email to lure individuals, businesses and tax professionals. For instance, the fraudster can ask you to provide your personal information to avoid suspending or canceling your social security number. Others send intimidating and threatening emails indicating that your tax is unpaid and you risk going to jail.

The best way to avoid tax phishing scams is by filing and paying your taxes early so you’ll instantly know that the information in the fake email is wrong. In addition, you should never click links that come in the email requiring you to provide your information. If you want to access any information regarding your tax, contact the tax agency on its official website.

  1. Sextortion phishing scam

Sextortion is a form of coercion that involves sexual materials. Fraudsters will send you an email indicating that they have an embarrassing and private recording, and they will share them unless you pay a ransom. They will also send instructions on how you can get and send payments in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoins.

The best thing to do when you receive such an email is to ignore it. In most cases, the email will not be personalized and may contain obvious grammar and spelling mistakes. However, if you feel the email is genuine, you should inform police authorities before doing anything.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), there were over 13,000 cases of sextortion complaints in 2018 in the US alone. This is just the tip of the iceberg since many instances go unreported. Most people will pay to avoid the embarrassment of having their private images and videos shared.

Phishing scams have affected millions of people from all over the world. These scammers use various tricks to urge people to immediately take action without checking the authenticity of the emails they receive. A lot of people have unknowingly given out their personal information while others have lost millions of money.

Remember that the best way to deal with these phishing scams is to not click links and open attachments included in emails and always go to the official websites if you want to check your accounts.

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Category: Local News, NEWS, Post To FB

About the Author - Stephanie Maris

Stefanie is a local blogger and social media content marketer from Maryland and most recently a wife and a mother. She has an unhealthy obsession with puns, sarcasm and caffeinated beverages.

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