Phishing is an easy way of luring Gmail users into clicking links through real looking emails. Today we will talk about how you can avoid Gmail phishing scams and save your private data from getting into the wrong hands. Hackers also use forged websites as well as hacked websites to carry out phishing. Gmail phishing scams are very common and according to a recent report, about $5 billion dollars are lost due to phishing scams every year.
The most common method of how hackers carry out phishing is through social engineering. Through different social engineering processes, hackers find loopholes in how a general user reacts to a certain type of an email.
Let us look in detail how phishing is carried out and how you can avoid Gmail phishing scams.
How is Gmail phishing carried out?
Gmail users are very prone to phishing. The fact that Gmail has billions of users of all ages gives an edge to the exploiters. Not every user is an IT expert. Sometimes the phishing is engineered in a way that even experts can hardly find out if it is real or a scam without looking deep into it.
One way how hackers carry out phishing is through emails. You receive an email from someone who has a real looking email ID. For example, firstname.lastname@example.org. The subject would be a catchy one like “You account is inactive, act to keep active” etc. In the email body, there would be a link and it would ask you to click on it. In some cases, it might ask you to fill an external form. Even there are cases where it asks to provide your username and password.
Now if you fall into the trap of such a scam, the hackers will get away with your login details. These details could be information other than usernames and passwords only. It could be a credit card number, a social security number or any other important data. Such data is not for public viewing due to security threats.
Now once the hackers get hold of your information, they can access your account without you knowing and perform either data theft or any other illegal activity.
How to avoid Gmail phishing scams?
First of all, you need to look closely at the email address. Make sure that there is no extension to the domain. For example, the domain should end something like facebook.com and not facebook.com.websitenameserveit.com.
Secondly, always be cautious about clicking links in the email. If you feel it is unsafe, open the link in a private browser where you don’t have any account logged in. See if the target website is genuine or has gone through forgery.
The email content might give you an idea as well. Although the language used is very professional and does not have basic mistakes, you need to look in the header of the email as well as the footer. See if there is any suspicious information.
And finally, use a tool like Avast or AVG that has free internet security tools. As soon as it detects a suspicious link in an email, it will alert you.