How to Avoid Email Phishing Scams and Credential Theft

August 27, 2020

Email phishing scams have been on the rise for years—and, in recent months have exploded as cybercriminals try to exploit the widespread fear and anxiety related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Anyone can fall prey to phishing, especially now as so many are hungry for information and assurance and are willing to let their guard down when it comes to cybersecurity in order to attain it. However, email phishing scams can create significant security breaches, leading to financial losses and large-scale logistical challenges as email users struggle to recover their digital privacy—which is why it’s important to remain informed about the latest trends in email phishing scams and the best ways to protect yourself and your data.


What is Phishing?

First, it’s important to understand what phishing is: an attempt by a cybercriminal to mask a malicious email as coming from a trusted, reputable source in order to solicit personal information from the recipient. The message may appear as though it is coming from a bank, employer, or other known entity, which is why so many people become victims of such scams. The sender may ask the recipient to input personal data like credit card information, or another common scheme is requesting login credentials. For instance, a criminal may disguise an email as coming from a financial institution and then prompt the recipient to enter his or her usual online login—which then hands over that credential to the sender, which could lead to financial ruin.


Don’t Click on Random Links or Attachments

To protect against such fallout, keep an eye out for red flags like links and attachments, which could be tricks to redirect email recipients to cloned websites. Hover over any links to ensure they actually are connected to the site they’re purporting to link to.


Don’t Use the Same Passwords

Safe password use can also reduce the risk of being a victim of email phishing scams. Don’t use the same password across multiple sites; if hackers are successful in stealing credentials for one of your logins, they’ll likely try them for many different sites. Additionally, multifactor authentication like that offered by helps to enhance private email, as it requires several levels of credentialing that can deter cybercriminals. Biometric logins, such as facial or fingerprint recognition, also heighten the level of protection.


Despite the challenges so many Americans are facing today, digital privacy needs to remain a priority, as email phishing scams and other cyber schemes are becoming more sophisticated and pervasive. Use these tips and practice safe online and email habits to keep your security and safety at the forefront.


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