How Easy Is It to Fall for a Phishing Scam?
With so many phishing scams making their way around the internet and into people’s email inboxes now, it is important that the companies whose names are being used step up to educate their customers into realising when they’ve received such an email. With the scams becoming increasingly elaborate they are becoming so difficult to spot that it’s become essential for companies to take proactive steps to let their customers know when such a scam has taken place.
Wonga South Africa are one such big brand name who have set up a fraud hotline to warn their customers about a large data leak in S. Africa. It explains that while no leaks of any kind took place on Wonga’s own secure database their brand image is still being used as the mask to target web users via sms and email messages.
Phishing scams don’t discriminate by any means. Millions and millions of people could receive the same email and large numbers of those could fall for it if everything seems legitimate. Some scams can be easy to spot due to poor spelling or grammar but others are not only word perfect, they completely look and sound the part.
Members of Parliament have received phishing emails in the past and spotted that they were being scammed as have company CEO’s but anyone at anytime can receive one so it is best to be vigilant as they are so clever and you can easily be taken in.
Should you feel you may have received a phishing scam, the important thing is to not only report it to the company whose name is being used but also to visit the website for yourself via a link that you have typed in yourself – never click the link within the email. Plenty of us will have received the supposed marketing communications from companies such as eBay, PayPal and even other big name companies. Wonga SA who were mentioned above have even been used as a front and are aiming to warn all of their customers about the scam and support the more vulnerable ones who have already fallen prey to it. It is great to see such a big company working tirelessly to rectify such a situation.
How easy is it to fall for a phishing scam? The answer is incredibly easy. With more and more companies finding out that their names are being used as a front and the scammers becoming more intelligent with how they present the scams, it is becoming hard to distinguish the genuine articles from the fakes.
Whilst there will often be some tell tale signs (no company will send out unsolicited communication, no company would ask you to login via a link in the email), other signs are so hard to spot – if the email is using the company logo and the email address looks like the genuine email address, it is going to be difficult to notice the very slight difference in the email address – usually one digit or letter difference. It is no surprise that the more vulnerable people are falling for them.