I promise that I didn’t spell “fishing” wrong, I'm offended that you thought that. However, these two activities are similar, one being far more deviant than the other. “Phishers” are internet scammers who are “dropping a line” into the internet hoping to make the catch of the day and hook your personal information. Analogies aside, these internet scammers want to steal from you; your identity, your money, anything they can get. Phone calls, websites, and emails are the most popular avenues for phishing.
Always be suspicious of emails or phone calls asking for your personal information. A phone call is easier to ignore if you don’t recognize the number. But a phishing attempt online may not look nefarious or sketchy at first. Here is a common scenario:
You receive an email that has the logo and contact name of a large company, one that you may have an online account with, (ie. Apple or Amazon). In this email, you are instructed to “sign into your account” or “update your information”. When you type in your info, you might get a reassuring piece of text that says “success” or “complete:” and you go about your day.
Little do you know that this was a successful phishing attempt and the source of this email was fraudulent, claiming to be an organization that they are not. They now have your email and associated password and can attempt to use this information to log into any of your online accounts, maybe even your banking account, as the likelihood of this information being the same is high.
Here is how to spot one of these fraudulent emails/messages:
The email uses threatening language such as “the account will be locked or services will be delayed” or you’ve been warned/given an ultimatum.
Suspicious documents or links are attached. DO NOT open these.
You’ve won something! Trust me, unfortunately you did win that all inclusive hotel package and flight to the Bahamas.
The email has a generic greeting such as “Sir/Madame.” Companies will almost always use your name in their emails. Not “beloved customer.”
The email in the sender bar has many random letters and numbers. This is not always the case, but it’s good to double check that the email has a strong and simple resemblance of the company’s brand. This is an example of a legitimate email from Apple that I received:
This is an example of a fraudulent email from apple:
I've attached another example as well:
Unfortunately, sometimes these phishing emails are almost indistinguishable from their authentic counterparts. Play it safe and call the company, or visit or visit the website directly! Ph(f)ishing is for the lake!
Other articles to read: