Imagine you sitting peacefully, watching something on your phone, and suddenly an email drops that says your PayPal payment of $100 is successful. A payment that you haven’t made. The email looks superbly professional and legitimate without a trace of doubt complete with a link to view the invoice. Bewildered, your obvious reaction would be to click on the link which would lead you to a login page. Of course, you have to log into your PayPal account to view the invoice. You’d fill in your credentials in the hope of finding out what went wrong. Just like that you hand your account over to malicious actors jumping right into their trap.
Any email that tries to get your heart pumping by expressing urgency or notifying about an action you are completely unaware of, is most likely a fake. Do not fall for such scams. Although it is easier said than done given the amount of sophistication hackers have achieved in terms of designing such scams.
Scam emails are getting more and more difficult to spot as fake. The hackers have improved their game to a great degree. So much so that even tech savvy among us often fail to discern between a legitimate and an illegitimate email. These email scams designed to steal credentials are called phishing attacks. It is one of the most successful forms of cyberattack on individuals and companies alike.
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Google blocks around 100 million phishing emails daily but a large chunk of them does make its way into your inbox. These scammers rely on your nervous response to a potential danger like having your account blocked or having lost money. Combined with the guise of legitimacy the scammers put on by using official logos, colors, and font sizes, these emails dupe people quite easily.
What can you do? As the Federal Trade Commission has announced and mandated, no company will ask you to log into their portal through an email. So, whether it’s about your PayPal account, MetaMask account, or Amazon account, if you receive an alert message expressing urgency, treat it with utmost suspicion. Do not click on any link on the email, do not download anything. Look at the sender’s email ID to confirm that it has come from the legitimate official domain. If still in doubt, contact the company directly and ask them about the mail. Make it a practice to avoid clicking on links before verifying them.