Characteristics and Techniques of Phishing Attacks

Now that we are aware of the common phishing attacks that we could all potentially experience, it is important to know that there are certain characteristics and techniques that scammers use to try to trick people. By knowing what to look for whenever you receive emails, phone calls, or messages from unknown senders, you can start to spot phishing and better protect yourself.

This lesson will focus on learning the tricks that scammers attempt to use, while next lesson we will discuss how best to prevent or handle phishing attacks.

Below are some characteristics of phishing attacks. These are the tricks that scammers use to try to get us to react.

Characteristics of Phishing Attacks

Fear/Urgency: if the message you are receiving attempts to scare you into acting or responding it is most likely a phishing scam. An example of this would be “update your password or your account will be deactivated.”

Greed: by offering some sort of prize, scammers try to trick people into clicking on a link or giving them information. If the message is offering a prize, whether it be money, a trip, or a product and it feels too good to be true- it probably is!

Curiosity: scammers will try to peak an individual’s curiosity by sending them a message that may entice them to click on it. For example, “Click this link to see a map of COVID-19 spread in your city!” Think about why you are getting this message, did you request it? If not, it could be phishing.

Pressure/ Aggression: by applying pressure or aggression, the scammer is trying to get an emotional response from you.

Opportunity/Entertainment: Just like greed, the scammers will try to trick you by offering some sort of prize such as concert tickets that are available for only a limited amount. Again, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Now that we know how scammers try to trick us, it is time to learn some tips and tricks to prevent ourselves from falling victim to these scams. Move on to the next lesson to learn how to keep yourself safe! Below there is also an interesting fact about scammers. Check it out!

Interesting Fact

Scammers use something known as Social Engineering to try to trick individuals. Social Engineering is the psychological manipulation of people into performing actions or giving confidential information. This is why you often see emails or messages that try to urge you into clicking or giving information.