Before we get into how to avoid phishing, we’re going to quickly run over what phishing actually is so that you have an understanding of how this scam works.
Phishing involves conning individuals via email, text, or even social media messaging. In a typical phishing message, the malicious operator will impersonate an official entity and request that a victim performs an action to solve an issue, gain something, or similar.
But phishing attacks can also be used to target your money. In the cryptocurrency industry, scammers commonly use phishing to access people’s account information and other sensitive data (like private keys and seed phrases) in order to steal their crypto holdings.
People can lose thousands of dollars in such scams, if not more, so it’s undoubtedly dangerous and should be watched out for.
How to Avoid Phishing
Employ Anti-Spam Features
There’s a reason why email providers offer anti-spam tools to their users. Spam emails are incredibly prevalent, with many being used to commit phishing scams. So, to avoid malicious spam mail, check out your email’s anti-spam features. Most providers offer an anti-spam filter that redirects suspected spam mail to a separate folder, which is a great first step towards protecting yourself from phishing and other email-based scams.
Block Suspicious Senders
One of the easiest ways to get rid of a nuisance or potentially harmful sender is to block them. If you’ve determined that someone is sending you malicious or highly suspicious communications, there’s no harm in clicking that block button to stop them from continuously getting in touch with you.
The process of blocking a sender will vary depending on the hardware and software you’re using but is often fairly straightforward.
Use Link-Checking Sites
This is a super quick and easy way to determine if a link is safe to click on. Malicious links are one of the staples of phishing scams, so it’s good to have something in place to protect you from these potentially harmful websites. Enter link-checking sites.
Many reputable link-checking websites are free to use and don’t take up much of your time. Simply paste the suspicious email into the provided field, and the site will run a scan to see if this page is associated with malicious activity.
Use two or more websites to check each link just in case one of them gives you a faulty result.
Use Domain Age-Checking Sites
Most well-established companies have had their own websites for many years, and have therefore owned a particular domain for some time. Scam sites, on the other hand, are often only a few weeks or months old (though this isn’t always the case).
If you’re dealing with a known organization, such as Walmart, YouTube, or Amazon, but you’re a little suspicious, run the domain through a domain age-checking site to see how old it is. If you find that the domain is only a few days, weeks, or months old, you may be dealing with a malicious phishing site.
Install Antivirus Software
Installing antivirus software is a must for your desktop PC or laptop, regardless of what you intend to do on it. Malware programs are highly sophisticated so that they can fly under the radar and infect your device behind the scenes. This could be catastrophic for your device and may lead to malicious remote access, the theft of highly valuable data, or worse.
Scammers will often use phishing to spread all kinds of malware to target devices. Simply clicking on an attachment or link puts you at risk of infection, so it pays to have the correct precautions in place to protect yourself.
So, if you’re using any device that’s connected to the internet, make sure you’ve got a trusted antivirus program set up. It can be frustrating spending money on something that you’ll hardly ever interact with, but it can make all the difference if you’re targeted by a cybercriminal.