Most of us experience phishing daily in our email inboxes.
LIMITED TIME ONLY: You have won $100. Click here now to claim your prize money!
It’s an example of a common phishing email most of us have received. These emails prey on vulnerable and trusting people who believe they have actually won prize money.
Phishing emails come in all different words, incentives, or phrases, but they all have the same goal, to scam you.
Scammers have even evolved and now target cell phones by sending out text messages such as:
Your account has been charged $452. Click here or call us at 555-555-555 if this isn’t you.
Roughly 225.7 billion smishing text messages similar to this one were sent out in 2022. Scammers use smishing texts to deceive people, much like how phishing emails are used. A staggering $8.8 billion dollar was lost to scammers in 2022, a 30 percent increase from the previous year.
The number one way to protect yourself from scammers is to educate yourself on what to look for. You don’t have to be a cyber security expert or an FBI agent to spot fraud and stop it before it happens.
Phishing Attack Statistics
- About 15 million spam emails are sent out across the internet every day. To put that in perspective, that is more spam emails than the total population of 46 of the 50 states in America.
- 30 percent of all phishing emails are opened. That means 4.5 million people, Kentucky’s population, are opening phishing emails.
- Roughly 90 percent of all data breaches occur because someone opens a phishing email.
Smishing Attack Statistics
- In 2022, reports showed that losses from text scams amounted to $300 million.
- Over 10% of people who reported a text scam in 2022 said the text impersonated a bank.
- Text message open rates are as high as 95%, and the response rate is as high as 45%.
Stopping Phishing and Smishing Before It Happens
Step 1: Knowing when it is a scam: Stop. Calm down. Think it through.
There are simple tips and tricks that you can follow to be able to spot phishing scams better.
- If the email or text message asks you to click on a link for more information, it is more than likely a scam. Never open an attachment or click links in emails or text messages. If you think the email or text message might be legit, contact the company using a phone number or website you know and trust.
- Double-check the email address for misspellings. Scammers often try to spoof legitimate email addresses to gain your trust. However, the spoof will never be 100 percent identical to the legitimate email address. Look on the company’s websites for their email address to cross reference your email.
- Always be on the lookout for these common issues with smishing texts and phishing emails: Spelling and lousy grammar, generic greetings, mismatched email domains, a sense of urgency, or threats being made.
Step 2: Reporting
- You can report spam text to 7726 to help your wireless provider spot and block similar messages.
- If you get a phishing email, forward it to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at email@example.com.
- Report Phishing to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
Step 3: Fraud Alerts
Setting up fraud alerts on all your bank accounts, credit card accounts, credit reports, or any other account with sensitive data will help you avoid scams.
Step 4: Multi-step authentication
Setting up multi-step authentication on all your accounts helps stop fraud before it happens. This type of authentication adds a layer of security that requires a unique code along with your password. To take it a step further, you can even use an authenticator app to replace the SMS text message or emails just in case your phone or email is compromised.
What to Do If You Are the Victim of Phishing or Smishing
If you have fallen victim to a phishing scam, you have nothing to be embarrassed about. You actually, in fact, now have something in common with 300,497 other victims. The saying, “you are not alone,” truly applies to victims of fraud.
If you are a victim of fraud, not just phishing, resources are available to you.
- Report the Scam: Sadly, according to The Department of Justice only 15 percent of all fraud victims actually report the crime. This low percentage is due to embarrassment, not wanting to go through the reporting process, or not knowing you can even report fraud. You should always report any fraud that has happened. The FBI, local Police, and other government agencies have specific resources and departments to stop/catch scammers. The AARP Fraud Watch Network is a hotline available to anyone (877-908-3360). See the previous section on reporting your fraud.
- Notify your bank, lender, and the 3 credit bureaus: Once you have noticed fraud, contact your bank, credit card company, credit bureaus, and any other impacted companies to notify them. You can open new bank accounts, get new credit cards and freeze your credit to stop the fraud from happening again or continuing. If the fraudster has opened accounts under your name, contact those companies and explain what has happened, you are not liable for any purchases or debt taken out under that account.
- Secure all your accounts: If you have fallen victim to any kind of fraud, you must change all your passwords on every account you have. Use strong passwords, and make sure not to use the same password twice. To keep up with your passwords, find a trustworthy password manager application. Finally, step-up two-step verification on all your accounts.
- Possible insurance coverage: Some employers offer identity theft insurance as an employee benefit. If you are the victim of fraud, check with your employer to see if you have coverage.
As fraudsters learn, grow, and adapt to new technology and software, everyone else must. Staying up to date on common practices and tips and tricks can help protect your sensitive information from scammers lurking around you.
For more information on protecting yourself, visit our website Security Archives – Texas Regional Bank.