Phishing attacks are becoming increasingly common in the marketing world, with over 255 million phishing attempts occurring over a six-month period in 2022 alone. If you fall victim to a phishing attack, it can harm your brand’s reputation and potentially interfere with your SEO ranking or conversion rates. Therefore, it’s crucial to know how to identify phishing messages and how to handle the consequences of responding unknowingly.
What is Phishing?
According to Imperva, phishing is a cybercrime in which an individual or group pretends to be a legitimate organization through email, telephone, or text messages to deceive people into revealing sensitive data such as personally identifiable information, banking and credit card details, and passwords. While it may seem like solely an IT issue, phishing attacks can have a severe impact on marketers as well. A successful phishing attack on your company could harm your brand reputation and even interfere with your SEO ranking or conversion rates.
How to Spot Phishing
Phishing emails and text messages often tell a plausible story to get you to click on a link or open an attachment. The message might appear to be from a company you know or trust, such as a bank, credit card or utility company, online payment website or app.
The message could be a variety of these examples:
- suspicious activity or log-in attempts
- there’s a problem with your account or your payment information
- confirm some personal or financial information
- share an invoice you don’t recognize
- click on a link to make a payment
- eligible to register for a government refund
- offer a coupon for free stuff
- be from your boss without using their work email
How to Protect Yourself (and Company) from Attacks
To protect yourself, it’s essential to keep your phone and computer up-to-date security-wise, and ensure that they have the latest program updates. Google offers a free authentication app that adds extra security to all your accounts, requiring two or more credentials to log in. It’s also essential to regularly back up your accounts and data on an external hard drive or on the cloud to make sure you can restore them in emergencies.
What Do You Do if You Responded to a Phishing Email?
If you think you’ve responded to a phishing email, take immediate action. If you believe a scammer has your information, such as your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number, go to IdentityTheft.gov for specific steps to take based on the information you lost. If you clicked on a link or opened an attachment that downloaded harmful software, update your computer’s security software and run a scan to remove anything it identifies as a problem. Also, be sure to report any encounters you have with potential scammers to the Federal Trade Commission’s Fraud Department.
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