4 Ways to Protect Yourself Against Phishing

20 February 2017

4 Ways to Protect Yourself against Phishing

A Firstline Securities Ltd. Blog by: Ahamad Hosein

Phishing (not to be confused with ‘Fishing’) is a form of technological scamming in which emails and/or text messages are sent to persons with the intent of obtaining their personal details (usernames, passwords, bank account information etc.). Once garnered, a “phisher” then utilises this data to infiltrate their victims’ bank accounts with the primary purpose of theft.  In some instances, perpetrators go even further and use this private information for blackmail…or even enslavement.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), an independent United States agency responsible for consumer protection and the prevention of anticompetitive business practices, “phishers” send emails, pop-up messages and/or text messages which claim to originate from businesses or organisations with which their targets usually associate (e.g. banks, online payment services, Governmental agencies etc.).  These messages oftentimes contain clauses which indicate that their targets need to “update” or “validate” their private information.  A threat of dire consequence if no response is received, usually accompanies these correspondences, and links directing persons to websites which look legitimate, are also included.

Check out the diagram below to see how Phishing works:

Image Source: http://keywordteam.net/gallery/624320.html

Here are 4 ways to protect yourself from Phishing:

  1. If it looks suspicious – do not open nor reply. Most legitimate companies will not ask for your personal information via email. If you therefore receive one of these messages, the FTC advises that you contact the organisation listed in the email (if this is an organisation with which you are familiar) to address your concerns regarding the correspondence received.  Do not click on the link provided in these messages, nor reply to the sender directly.  In general, it is always prudent to exercise caution when opening attachments or downloading files, regardless of the sender.
  1. Avoid emailing your personal and/or financial information.Email is not a secure method of transmitting personal information.” (FTC) Websites which require your personal and financial data would contain the URL: “https” (the “s” stands for “secure”) as well as a “lock” icon in the browser’s status bar.  Nonetheless, it is advisable that you always use your judgement, as some “phishers” have found methods around these security features.
  1. Keep abreast of your financial transactions. Regularly check your credit and bank account statements to see whether any unauthorised transactions have taken place.  If your statement is late, call your bank representative for a breakdown of your account balances and transactions.
  1. Invest in antivirus software and keep it up-to-date. According to the FTC, “some phishing emails contain software that can harm your computer or track your activities on the Internet without your knowledge. Antivirus software scans incoming communications for troublesome files. A firewall helps make you invisible on the Internet and blocks all communications from unauthorised sources. It is especially important to run a firewall if you have a broadband connection.”


Closing thoughts – Time to consider your investing strategies

 Firstline Securities Limited offers comprehensive coverage of local and international markets. Firstline offers many unique opportunities to put surplus cash to work either as your asset manager or investment advisor. Please contact us for more details at info@nullfirstlinesecurities.com or at 868.628.1175, we can discuss your investment needs in detail and craft a portfolio that makes sense for you. We look forward to hearing from you.

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