Recognizing and Avoiding Phishing Scams

What is Phishing
How it Works
Types of Attacks
How to Detect it

What is Phishing?

Phishing attacks attempt to steal a victim’s identity or to obtain access to sensitive data. They can be carried out through various channels, including email, social media, messaging apps, and phone calls.

Attackers often use social engineering tactics to persuade the victim to take a specific action, such as clicking on a link or downloading a file, prompting them to give personal information.

It is important to be vigilant and cautious when receiving unsolicited messages or requests for personal information, and to always verify the authenticity of the sender or website before providing any sensitive information.

How Does it Work?

Types of Phishing Attacks

Spear Phishing

Directed at specific individuals or groups. Attackers use personal information, such as a name or job title, to make the email appear more convincing.

Clone Phishing

This is a type of phishing attack that involves creating a fake copy of a legitimate email or website. The attacker then replaces links or attachments with malicious ones.


This is a type of spear phishing attack that is targeted at high-level executives or other important individuals within an organization.


This is a type of phishing attack that is carried out through SMS or text messages. The attacker may request that the recipient clicks on a link or enters personal information.


A type of attack carried out through voice calls. The attacker may impersonate a legitimate organization, such as a bank or government agency, and request that the recipient provides personal information.


This is an online scam similar to phishing, where a website’s traffic is manipulated, and confidential information is stolen. It is the criminal act of producing a fake website and then redirecting users to it.

How to Detect Phishing 

Detecting phishing requires a combination of vigilance and awareness. Common signs of a phishing attempt include suspicious links, requests for personal information, and urgent or threatening language. Ask yourself the following questions when you are about to open a message…

Do you recognize the email address?

Examine the sender’s email address carefully to make sure it matches your expectations. Spammers often use spoofed email addresses and will create email addresses that are similar to legitimate ones, but contain slight variations.

Are there attachments in the email?

If you didn’t expect to receive a file in an email, use caution before opening the attachment. Check if the filetype is commonly associated with malware downloads (.zip, .exe, .scr, etc.) or is unfamiliar, and flag the file to be virus-scanned before opening.

Does the email request personal information?

If an email asks you for personal information such as your social security number, credit card number, or login credentials, this could be a phishing attempt. Providing this information could put you at risk of identity theft or financial fraud.

Are there grammatical errors?

Phishing emails are often characterized by poor spelling and grammar. Scammers tend to target people who are more susceptible to their tactics, and sometimes spelling errors can even help them pass spam filters.

    Does the link look suspicious?

    To avoid falling for email scams, it’s recommended to scrutinize email addresses, links, and domain names for inconsistencies. If an email contains a link, hover your cursor over it to check the destination before clicking. Don’t click on any links if the domain names don’t match or is unfamiliar.

    Is there a sense of urgency?

    If an email has a sense of urgency and urges you to take immediate action, it’s advisable to approach it with skepticism. The scammers hope that by rushing you, you won’t notice that the email is fraudulent.


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