Mobile devices are becoming increasingly important to all aspects of our lives. From learning to working, traveling to shopping, eating to playing, and sometimes even sleeping, they are our reliable companions. That explains why bad actors constantly try to take advantage of unsuspected users by attacking mobile and personal communication channels. For instance, phishing attacks on mobile devices increased by over 50% in 2022, with identity fraud and credential theft being the most common types.
What are Phishing Attacks?
Phishing attacks are a form of social engineering where bad actors psychologically manipulate people into doing what they are not supposed to, like installing harmful software or sharing personal financial details. They are based on the idea of fishing– using bait to lure unsuspecting victims.
Attackers send malicious messages that appear to come from a trustworthy source, such as a friend, bank, retailer, service provider, or government agency. Such messages will include misspelled website links that go to the attacker’s site in an attempt to deceive people into sharing personal information like credit card details, bank account numbers, and passwords.
How to Avoid Falling Victim to Phishing Attacks
There are many ways to identify and prevent falling victim to phishing attacks, some of which will be discussed below.
- Suspicious Senders or Links
Be cautious of messages with a generic or vague sender name, and double-check that the sender’s email address or phone number is from a legitimate source. Always hover over any links in emails or text messages to see if they lead to the right source. If you are unsure or not expecting such a message, contact the senders directly through emails or phone numbers they usually use to contact you and avoid clicking the links.
- Unexpected Requests for Personal Information or Urgent Payment
Bad actors may use fake invoices or payment requests to trick you into sending money or revealing your financial information. So, be wary of unsolicited emails or text messages asking for personal information like Social Security Number, Bank Verification Number, credit card details, or passwords. Always cross-check with your banks or service providers before sharing such private information.
- Urgent or Threatening Language
Phishing emails or text messages may use urgent or threatening language to pressure you to take immediate action, like clicking on a link or downloading an attachment. Be careful of such messages as the sense of urgency is to dissuade you from seeking advice from a reliable source who will advise you appropriately.
- Poor Grammar and Spelling Errors
Phishing messages often contain grammatical or spelling errors, which can show that the message is not from a legitimate source and was put together in a rush. Also, watch out for subtle misspellings of the legitimate website name, as bad actors often use that method to deceive people.
- Unusual Attachments
Be extremely careful of unexpected or unusual attachments, especially if they are in a format you don’t recognize. If you download or open such infected attachments, harmful software can be installed on your computer.
Steps to Take After Falling Victim of Phishing Attacks
- Change Your Passwords.
Changing the passwords for all your accounts that may have been compromised with new and unique passwords for each account will limit the damage the attackers can do.
- Enable Two-Factor Authentication.
Enabling Two-factor authentication (2FA) will add an extra layer of security to your accounts by requiring a code and your password to access your accounts. Preferably, do it before falling victim to attacks.
- Contact Your Bank or Company.
If you believe that your personal or financial information has been compromised, contact your bank or IT support of your company immediately to report the attack and take the steps instructed to protect your accounts.
- Install Antivirus Software.
Installing antivirus software from trusted organisations to scan your computer for malware or viruses that may have been installed through phishing attacks is important. Preferably, only use premium antivirus software or software recommended by your financial institutions or company.
In conclusion, your online security starts with you. Being vigilant and knowing how to recognize and avoid phishing scams is essential to protecting yourself from harmful attacks online. Remember, If you have any doubts, contact the right people, like your bank’s customer support or IT Admin at your work, and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you have any questions about information from Flutterwave, always contact us via email at email@example.com or any of our social media–Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram.
Written by Olaniran Ogunbodede with contribution from the members of the Flutterwave Fraud Team.