Phishing Scams are Rapidly on the Rise


Each text notification, computer alert, and unexpected phone call might be an attempt by scammers to obtain your personal information or money. Phishing scams are the worst they have ever been, making it a very scary world to live in. Last year the Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker received over 9,000 reports of phishing scams, up 200% from the previous year. We all know someone who has been a victim or a phishing scam whether a co-worker, a cousin, a grandmother, or a neighbor, no one is safe.

Today, we are seeing more scammers utilize artificial intelligence to craft messages, it is crucial to stay vigilant. If you receive a message that puts you on alert or looks suspicious, look out for red flags like unexpected account issues, payment requests, unsolicited alerts, and urgent or overdue language.

Here are some reasons we are seeing phishing scams on the rise:

  1. Increased Digital Activity: With more people conducting personal and business affairs online, there is a larger target audience.
  2. Sophisticated Techniques: Cybercriminals are using more advanced methods to trick users, including personalized messages and cloned websites.
  3. Remote Work: The shift to remote work has expanded the attack surface, as employees often use less secure home networks and personal devices.
  4. Financial Gain: The potential for significant financial rewards motivates cybercriminals to continue developing phishing schemes.
  5. Lack of Awareness: Despite efforts to educate, many individuals and organizations are still not aware of the latest phishing tactics or how to recognize them.
  6. Exploiting Current Events: Scammers often exploit major events like pandemics or tax seasons to create believable phishing campaigns.

Protecting against phishing scams requires a combination of awareness, technological tools, and best practices. Here are some effective strategies:

  1. Education and Awareness
    • Training: Regularly train employees on how to identify phishing emails and other suspicious activities.
    • Updates: Keep everyone informed about the latest phishing techniques and common red flags.
  1. Technological Measures
    • Email Filters: Implementing email filtering solutions can block suspicious emails before they reach an inbox.
    • Antivirus Software: Run an updated antivirus software on all devices connected to your network.
    • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Just passwords are no longer acceptable. Implement MFA for that additional layer of protection.
    • Secure Browsers: Use browsers that offer phishing protection and always keep them updated.
  1. Best Practices
    • Verify Links: Hover over links to see their real URLs before clicking. Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails.
    • Check Email Addresses: Always verify the sender’s email address carefully. Look for subtle misspellings or unusual domains.
    • Avoid Sharing Personal Information: Never share personal or financial information via email.
    • Regular Backups: Regularly back up important data to mitigate the impact of a successful phishing attack.
    • Password Management: Use unique passwords for every account and ensure they are considered strong with multiple types of keys and characters. Consider using a password manager.
  1. Reporting and Response
    • Report Suspicious Emails: Encourage employees to report suspicious emails to your IT department or security team.
    • Incident Response Plan: Develop and practice a response plan for potential phishing attacks to minimize damage and recover quickly.

Stay proactive and maintain a security-first mindset to protect yourself and your organization from phishing scams. If you are unsure if your organization is doing the correct things to stay safe, or you need help with awareness training, let the experts at 2W Tech help! Our team of security experts can help ensure your organization is using the proper cybersecurity solutions, as well as ensuring your employees are trained on what to look for to remain safe.

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