5 Types of Phishing Scams Employees Need to Watch For
No one is immune to a phishing attack. In fact, even the most tech-savvy individual can fall victim to a clever scam.
Protection starts with education. And as an employee, it’s important for you to be able to identify the different types of phishing scams used by hackers so you can protect yourself and your company from becoming the next victim. Below are five of the most common types of phishing scams to watch out for. But first, let’s take a look at what defines a phishing attack.
What is a phishing scam?
Phishing is a cybercrime in which the perpetrator contacts the target, posing as a legitimate institution, in order to lure them into providing sensitive data. This data can include login credentials, financial information, or other personal data that can be used for identity theft or other malicious purposes.
One of the biggest problems is that phishing attacks can be notoriously difficult to detect, as the perpetrators often use spoofed email addresses and websites that look identical to the real thing.
5 Types of Phishing Scams
While this type of cyber attack has been around for years, phishing scams continue to evolve, making it difficult to keep up with the latest shifts. However, you can reduce your cyber risk by knowing the five common ways that scammers try to trick their targets:
- Spear Phishing
- Executive Phishing
- Angler Phishing
This type of email scam is typically initiated by an external threat attempting to leverage personal information for financial gain or identity theft. Spear phishing emails are often hard to spot because they can look like legitimate emails from companies or organizations that you are familiar with. These types of scams usually target individuals who work in finance or accounting, as well as those who work with sensitive information.
To avoid falling victim to a spear phishing scam, be suspicious of any email that asks you for personal or financial information, even if it looks like it’s from a trusted source. If you’re not sure whether an email is real or not, stop immediately and contact the company or organization directly to confirm its authenticity.
The second common type of phishing scam is similar to spear phishing, but it targets high-level executives within an organization. The attacker will often impersonate someone in a position of authority, such as the CEO or CFO, in order to get sensitive information from the employees they manage.
Executive phishing emails can be extremely difficult to spot, as they often mimic the writing style of the executives they’re impersonating. These types of scams usually target organizations rather than individuals, and they can have a devastating impact on the company if sensitive information is leaked.
Steering clear of an executive phishing scam means you need to be suspicious of any email that asks you to do something outside of your normal job duties, even if it’s from someone in a position of authority. If you’re not sure whether an email is real or not, contact the person directly to confirm. It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially in this case.
While the word might sound made up, smishing is all too real. This type of scam uses text messages instead of emails to try and trick the recipient into giving away sensitive information. Hackers will often pose as a trusted organization, such as a bank or credit card company, and try to get the target to provide login credentials or financial information.
Smishing attacks can be tricky to detect, as text messages from these compromised sources can appear to be legitimate. These types of scams usually target individuals who are less likely to be aware of phishing scams, such as the elderly or those who are not familiar with the technology.
To avoid falling victim to a smishing attack, be suspicious of any text message that asks you for personal or financial information, even if it looks like it’s from a sender you recognize. If you’re not absolutely sure whether the text message is real or not, contact the company or organization directly to confirm.
While the name is different, the game is always the same. Vishing uses phone calls instead of emails or text messages to try and trick the recipient into giving away sensitive information. The hacker will often pose as a credible contact, such as a bank or credit card company, and try to get you to provide user names, passwords, or even account information.
Vishing attacks can be tough to spot since phone calls can sound like they’re from someone you know. These types of scams usually go after the same individuals that smishing scams target.
Being a skeptic can help keep you safe from a vishing attack. That means you should be highly suspicious of any phone call that asks you for any sort of confidential information. If you’re not sure whether a phone call is real or not, hang up. It’s not rude; it’s having cyber smarts. You should then call back and ask for confirmation.
Angler phishing is catching more and more people due to its novelty. This new type of phishing attack goes after people via social media. In this scam, the attacker pretends to be a customer service representative and uses social engineering techniques to try to trick the user into giving them personal information or access to their account. This type of attack is becoming more common as social media plays an increasingly integral part in our lives.
The best way to thwart an angler phishing attack is to be wary of any unsolicited messages from customer service representatives. Do not click on any links or attachments that they send, and under no circumstance should you give them any personal information. If you are unsure whether a message is on the up-and-up, reach out to the company through their official website or customer service number.
Stay Up to Date on Cybersecurity Risks
Unfortunately, phishing remains one of the most common and dangerous cyber threats that businesses face because hackers know it works. But being vigilant and aware is something we all must do to limit the potential damage. So that means it’s important for you to be able to identify the different types of phishing attacks in order to protect yourself and your company from falling victim.
At USX Cyber, we fulfill our mission of protecting small businesses by keeping you up-to-date on the latest cybersecurity trends. That’s because when you are better informed, you can stay better protected. And as hackers try to find new ways in, you can rest assured that our highly trained cyber analysts have already found a way to stop them. Contact us today to get advanced protection for your business before you need it.