How to Avoid Phishing Scams?

Your private information that you put up on the internet is at risk. You need to verify first that you are giving away your information to websites that are legit. Otherwise, you are bound to fall for a trap. One such trap is referred to as phishing where someone on the internet takes your sensitive information by using methods such as calls, emails, or by providing you a clickable link leading to questionable places on the internet. That ‘someone’ is a scammer. He poses as a legitimate person or organization, such as a bank, and asks you for your personal information which they can use to exploit you.

How to Avoid Phishing Scams?

The information scammers get from phishing can cause financial loss and identity theft. It is considered a cybercrime. Nowadays as the whole world has access to the internet and everything on it, it is very easy to fall victim to a phishing attack. You need to be extra careful on the internet. In many cases, it has been found that children unnoticeably provide sensitive information about their parents on emails and online websites. So, not only you but everyone around you needs to know how to avoid it.

Internet service providers do offer a secure connection to your home. For instance, Ziply offers advanced security with their routers that monitor the traffic activities on your connection so they can flag the ones that seem threatening. This makes using Ziply Fiber Internet a safer option for you.

But the internet service provider can only do so much. In this article, we will discuss how by following a few simple checks you can avoid phishing attacks because it is better to be careful than to be sorry. But first, you need to know how to know when you’re being phished by someone:

Phishing: Are you being scammed?

Almost all phishing scams are generic in nature. The scammers will ask you about your sensitive information such as passwords or credit card information or bank information. They mostly do this by sending a text message or email.

Mostly the subject of the email will be such as “Your account is on hold” or “You need to update your payment method”.

The scammers even use government organizations and offer some rewards and in many cases, they will tell you that you won some prize such as a phone, and need your personal information in order to send it to you.

Be wary, these all are phishing attacks. The scammers may use even legitimate company logos and will provide you with a link to enter your information. Real companies do not provide you with an external link for your information.

How to Avoid Phishing

Here are some ways you can avoid phishing:

Update Your Antivirus

As with the rule of cyber activities. First thing you need to do is update your antivirus. You need to keep a good quality antivirus software installed on your devices and regularly update them.

Antiviruses can catch malware links and do the work for you. Everyday scammers are getting better at their job and using more complex tools for phishing. That’s why you need to regularly update the antivirus because older versions of antiviruses may not be equipped to catch such phishing attempts.


Always keep firewall enabled in all your devices. A firewall acts as a wall between your device and the internet. It avoids interference of malware on your computer. Therefore, always keep your firewall on.

Do not Click on Pop-ups

Pop-ups are small windows that open up by themselves when you click on a website. They are mostly phishing attempts where scammers will ask you for your information. You should close them as soon as they open up. Many pop-ups open up as update your device performance. You need to close it by clicking on “x” on the top right corner, clicking on “no” or “cancel” leads to further phishing attacks.

Moreover, you need to install a pop-up blocker on your browser so these popups are stopped even before they get a chance.

Check Websites Security Certificate

Whenever you go to a website, you should check its security certificate. You can do this by clicking on the address bar. You can the security rating of the website there. A secure site has an image of a padlock whereas, the sites which aren’t secure have a triangle caution sign in the address bar before the domain name.

Personal Information

It cannot be stressed enough that you should never give out your personal information over the internet. If needed to provide personal information for bank, etc., it is better to provide it in person. Once you type anything on the internet, it can be phished if scammers have good tools. Always consider the internet to be unsafe and you will be able to avoid scams.


Wrapping up, in a phishing attempt, the scammer will use various methods to extract your personal information in order to cause you loss in any form. Therefore, always be careful of your online activities and always consider the internet to be unsafe and follow these simple steps to avoid becoming the target of such a scam.

Check the comment section below for additional information, share what you know, or ask a question about this article by leaving a comment below. And, to quickly find answers to your questions, use our search Search engine.

Note: Some of the information in samples on this website may have been impersonated or spoofed.

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Online Threat Alerts Security Tips

Pay the safest way

Credit cards are the safest way to pay for online purchases because you can dispute the charges if you never get the goods or services or if the offer was misrepresented. Federal law limits your liability to $50 if someone makes unauthorized charges to your account, and most credit card issuers will remove them completely if you report the problem promptly.

Guard your personal information

In any transaction you conduct, make sure to check with your state or local consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if the seller, charity, company, or organization is credible. Be especially wary if the entity is unfamiliar to you. Always call the number found on a website’s contact information to make sure the number legitimately belongs to the entity you are dealing with.

Be careful of the information you share

Never give out your codes, passwords or personal information, unless you are sure of who you're dealing with

Know who you’re dealing with

Crooks pretending to be from companies you do business with may call or send an email, claiming they need to verify your personal information. Don’t provide your credit card or bank account number unless you are actually paying for something and know who you are sending payment to. Your social security number should not be necessary unless you are applying for credit. Be especially suspicious if someone claiming to be from a company with whom you have an account asks for information that the business already has.

Check your accounts

Regularly check your account transactions and report any suspicious or unauthorised transactions.

Don’t believe promises of easy money

If someone claims that you can earn money with little or no work, get a loan or credit card even if you have bad credit, or make money on an investment with little or no risk, it’s probably a scam. Oftentimes, offers that seem too good to be true, actually are too good to be true.

Do not open email from people you don’t know

If you are unsure whether an email you received is legitimate, try contacting the sender directly via other means. Do not click on any links in an email unless you are sure it is safe.

Think before you click

If an email or text message looks suspicious, don’t open any attachments or click on the links.

Verify urgent requests or unsolicited emails, messages or phone calls before you respond

If you receive a message or a phone call asking for immediate action and don't know the sender, it could be a phishing message.

Be careful with links and new website addresses

Malicious website addresses may appear almost identical to legitimate sites. Scammers often use a slight variation in spelling or logo to lure you. Malicious links can also come from friends whose email has unknowingly been compromised, so be careful.

Secure your personal information

Before providing any personal information, such as your date of birth, Social Security number, account numbers, and passwords, be sure the website is secure.

Stay informed on the latest cyber threats

Keep yourself up to date on current scams by visiting this website daily.

Use Strong Passwords

Strong passwords are critical to online security.

Keep your software up to date and maintain preventative software programs

Keep all of your software applications up to date on your computers and mobile devices. Install software that provides antivirus, firewall, and email filter services.

Update the operating systems on your electronic devices

Make sure your operating systems (OSs) and applications are up to date on all of your electronic devices. Older and unpatched versions of OSs and software are the target of many hacks. Read the CISA security tip on Understanding Patches and Software Updates for more information.

What if You Got Scammed?

Stop Contact With The Scammer

Hang up the phone. Do not reply to emails, messages, or letters that the scammer sends. Do not make any more payments to the scammer. Beware of additional scammers who may contact you claiming they can help you get your lost money back.

Secure Your Finances

  • Report potentially compromised bank account, credit or debit card information to your financial institution(s) immediately. They may be able to cancel or reverse fraudulent transactions.
  • Notify the three major credit bureaus. They can add a fraud alert to warn potential credit grantors that you may be a victim of identity theft. You may also want to consider placing a free security freeze on your credit report. Doing so prevents lenders and others from accessing your credit report entirely, which will prevent them from extending credit:

Check Your Computer

If your computer was accessed or otherwise affected by a scam, check to make sure that your anti-virus is up-to-date and running and that your system is free of malware and keylogging software. You may also need to seek the help of a computer repair company. Consider utilizing the Better Business Bureau’s website to find a reputable company.

Change Your Account Passwords

Update your bank, credit card, social media, and email account passwords to try to limit further unauthorized access. Make sure to choose strong passwords when changing account passwords.

Report The Scam

Reporting helps protect others. While agencies can’t always track down perpetrators of crimes against scammers, they can utilize the information gathered to record patterns of abuse which may lead to action being taken against a company or industry.

Report your issue to the following agencies based on the nature of the scam:

  • Local Law Enforcement: Consumers are encouraged to report scams to their local police department or sheriff’s office, especially if you lost money or property or had your identity compromised.
  • Federal Trade Commission: Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or use the Online Complaint Assistant to report various types of fraud, including counterfeit checks, lottery or sweepstakes scams, and more.
  • If someone is using your personal information, like your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number, to open new accounts, make purchases, or get a tax refund, report it at This federal government site will also help you create your Identity Theft Report and a personal recovery plan based on your situation. Questions can be directed to 877-ID THEFT.

How To Recognize a Phishing Scam

Scammers use email or text messages to try to steal your passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. If they get that information, they could get access to your email, bank, or other accounts. Or they could sell your information to other scammers. Scammers launch thousands of phishing attacks like these every day — and they’re often successful.

Scammers often update their tactics to keep up with the latest news or trends, but here are some common tactics used in phishing emails or text messages:

Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. You might get an unexpected email or text message that looks like it’s from a company you know or trust, like a bank or a credit card or utility company. Or maybe it’s from an online payment website or app. The message could be from a scammer, who might

  • say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts — they haven’t
  • claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information — there isn’t
  • say you need to confirm some personal or financial information — you don’t
  • include an invoice you don’t recognize — it’s fake
  • want you to click on a link to make a payment — but the link has malware
  • say you’re eligible to register for a government refund — it’s a scam
  • offer a coupon for free stuff — it’s not real

About Online Threat Alerts (OTA)

Online Threat Alerts or OTA is an anti-cybercrime community that started in 2012. OTA alerts the public to cyber crimes and other web threats.

By alerting the public, we have prevented a lot of online users from getting scammed or becoming victims of cybercrimes.

With the ever-increasing number of people going online, it important to have a community like OTA that continuously alerts or protects those same people from cyber-criminals, scammers and hackers, who are every day finding new ways of carrying out their malicious activities.

Online users can help by reporting suspicious or malicious messages or websites to OTA. And, if they want to determine if a message or website is a threat or scam, they can use OTA's search engine to search for the website or parts of the message for information.

Help maintain Online Threat Alerts (OTA).

How to Avoid Phishing Scams?