Most of us know someone who has had an online account hijacked. It’s bad enough if this happens to your social media or email accounts, but if it’s your bank account, the results can be devastating. It’s also a growing problem. According to police reports, there were over 3000 cases of online scams in Singapore last year.
Most hijackers get into accounts through phishing – sending emails which appear to come from a genuine source such as your bank, but are really created to steal your usernames, passwords or credit card details. Phishing is also much more effective than you might think. According to research from Google’s security engineers, phishing scams that target their victims can fool up to 45% of their victims, and once hijackers have your information, they can break into your account in as little as 30 minutes.
To mark Safer Internet Day today, here’s some quick tips to spot the difference between a scam site and a real one:
Check the URL in the address bar. It might look right in the email, but it could take you scam site designed to steal your personal details. Also check for ‘HTTPS’ in the address bar which means the site is secure.
Always check the sender’s email address. Does it look right to you? Phishing emails will often contain spelling mistakes and other irregularities.
Recognise scare tactics. Genuine sites never use scare tactics to get you to enter your username, password or credit card numbers. This is a red flag that the site may not be genuine.
Always check the spelling. Even though phishing can be sophisticated, hijackers are not always great spellers. Typos on a website or email could indicate that they are not the real deal.