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BBB: Phishing scams nearly doubled last year

Phishing scams are fraudulent attempts to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by disguising as a trustworthy entity in electronic communications. These scams can come in many forms, including emails, text messages, and phone calls. With the rise in sophisticated tactics, it’s crucial to stay informed and vigilant.

Recent Trends in Phishing Scams

According to a recent Better Business Bureau (BBB) study, phishing scam reports nearly doubled last year, reaching a record high of over 9,000. Scammers constantly evolve their methods, and phishing via text messages has become increasingly common. These messages often contain links to malicious websites or prompt you to download harmful software.

Common Tactics Used by Scammers

Scammers might pose as tech support, government officials, or representatives from your bank. They employ various tactics to lure you in, including:

  • Claims of Suspicious Activity or Fraudulent Logins: Urging you to verify your account.
  • Unexpected Account Problems: Asking for personal or financial information to resolve issues.
  • Payment Requests via Links: Directing you to make payments through suspicious links.
  • Unsolicited Offers: Sending unexpected government refunds or coupons.
  • Generic Messages: Using well-known company logos with typo-filled, urgent messages.

How to Identify Phishing Scams

Be cautious of any email, text, or call that:

  • Claims suspicious activity or fraudulent logins
  • Describes unexpected problems with an account
  • Tries to confirm financial information
  • Requests you to click a link to make a payment
  • Sends unsolicited coupons
  • Uses generic messages with well-known logos
  • Contains typo-filled and urgent language
  • Offers government refunds

Reporting Phishing Scams

If you suspect a phishing scam, report it to:

  • BBB ScamTracker
  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

Protecting Your Business

Businesses can also fall prey to phishing scams. To safeguard your organization:

  • Double-check unknown invoices.
  • Be wary of requests to confirm financial information.
  • Verify email addresses from trusted partners.
  • Implement multi-factor authentication for all payments.
  • Train employees to recognize phishing attempts.
  • Establish and follow best practice policies.

Strengthening Cybersecurity

To enhance your defenses against phishing attacks:

  • Enable automatic updates on your cell phone.
  • Turn on multi-factor authentication for sensitive accounts.
  • Regularly back up your data.
  • Install the latest security software on your devices.

Steps to Take if You’re Targeted

If you fall victim to a phishing scam:

  • Immediately change your password on the affected account.
  • Reset passwords on other accounts if they are the same
  • Enable multi-factor authentication.
  • Mark the sender as spam.
  • Report the incident to the appropriate authorities.

Stay Vigilant

Phishing scams are a pervasive threat, but by staying informed and cautious, you can protect yourself and your business from becoming a victim. Always verify the authenticity of unsolicited messages and report any suspicious activity to the authorities.

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