No matter who uses computers or phones, there can be times when you receive what appears to be a genuine email or text messages from a company you use.
On other occasions, you may end up on a website that appears to be genuine, but once you begin looking closer, there is something that appears off or not quite right. In many instances, this can be problems with grammar, or the wording of sentences doesn’t make full sense.
Some of these sites even directly ask for personal information.
In the majority of cases of what we know as phishing scams. The sole intention of this cybercrime is to get hold of your sensitive information for scams and fraud and identity theft.
If this happens, you can simply ignore it, or as you can see in our online privacy guide, you can report scams, so the chance of it continuing to yourself or another person is reduced.
Read on, and learn how reporting scams isn’t as hard as you think, and also, what else you need to know about internet fraud and how to stop it.
How Can I Recognize Phishing Emails?
One of the main issues here is the extent scammers go to stay updated with their tactics. However, there are some ways you can recognize a phishing email or text message.
It should be noted that phishing techniques use emails and texts from the company’s you know or trust. By the sheer volume they send out, they will ultimately find people who use these services around the world.
Here is what you can define suspicious in your emails or texts
- Some suspicious activity or login attempts have been noted on your bank account
- There is an issue with your account or your credit card payment information
- Users need to confirm some personal data
- They include a fake invoice
- They offer a free look at your credit reports
- The email contains links to make a payment
- The email claims you may be eligible for a government refund
- Coupons are on offer for free things
Aside from this, the subject line will be dramatic to grab your attention.
Where Can I Report Scams?
Luckily, many large institutions take phishing and scamming as seriously as users. For this reason, they do have services in place to help deal with this.
Here are some of the top places to report phishing:
PayPal: if you want to report phishing to PayPal, you can do so easily. All you need to do is head to any global website of PayPal, report phishing by forwarding it to email@example.com. After you do these, delete it from your inbox.
Wells Fargo: Wells Fargo phishing is big business for the crooks. It is widely used to send money, so it gains a lot of wrongful attention. Head to the main site, and they have detailed instructions on how to deal with both emails and texts.
Amazon: Unlike others, Amazon wants you to send the email as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org. They also give a few more details about how to go about this.
Postal Service: It isn’t just online companies that are subject to scams. Even the US postal service can be a source for criminals. The company website goes into detail of how they will contact customers, or how you can deal with a phishing message.
You will find around the United States; many other businesses and banks that have a similar complaint center in place.
There are also government agencies in place, where you can file a complaint as well as forwarding the mail to the company it was supposed to be from.
FTC: The Federal Trade Commission has a detailed page where you can file complaints on all manner of scams, be it someone stealing your identity, social security scams, phishing, or other scams, including credit cards, etc.
FBI: The Internet Crime Complaint Center accepts scamming or phishing complaints about yourself, or another victim you may know of. The Internet Crime Complaint Center IC3 will receive complaints at this address https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx.
Here, there are detailed instructions on what you need to do using this online law enforcement method.
You can use either of the above if you are faced with the issue of “Someone is using my email address to sign up for things.”
In this instance, it may be an honest error, but to be safe, you do need to stop it happening. You can also contact the Department of Justice, who can help in this situation.
Which Email Service is Most at Risk?
Phishing attempts can hit any email service, although because Google has one of the largest in the world, they are ripe for attacks.
Google does have its own system in place where you can report phishing as well as what you can do to avoid them.
However, over the past few months, Gmail has been inundated with a “critical security alert for your linked google account,” email making the rounds.
This is fraudulent, and the sender is “no-reply@accounts” or something similar.
The Google critical security alert email, claims someone has used your password to try and login to your Google account.
This asks users to click a link to check recent activity, and by doing so, they can reveal their real account details.
Google does all it can, although there is a better solution because these issues will never go away.
It is advisable to use one of the best antivirus software packages you can get that helps stop phishing attempts. You can also sign up to a premium VPN, so your IP address is hidden, and thus reducing spam emails making their way to you.
The best solution for avoiding Gmail phishing is to look at some of the great Google alternatives there are to replace Gmail.
Using these few methods can be the easiest way to avoid attack from phishing and scam emails.