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Security & privacy

Emails from Facebook, Yahoo or Netflix in your inbox? They might be phishing scams

Ah, the dreaded phishing attack. They are definitely a favorite scheme for cybercriminals these days. Crooks are always hoping to trick you into handing over all the sensitive information they need to rip you off via fake emails or texts.

A recent incident had victims responding to fake emails that were supposedly from Microsoft. Spoiler: they weren’t. Tap or click here to find out how the Microsoft phishing scam works.

That’s just one example of how super popular companies are targeted with phishing scams. Unfortunately, there are many more.

Watch out for these popular phishing brands

Phishing attacks are more successful when the fake message comes from a company the victim knows and does business with. You’re more likely to believe an email if it looks like it came from your bank or a social media site you visit often.

This is why scammers behind phishing attacks are targeting the most popular companies out there. That, along with incorporating sophisticated tools and skills that allow them to spoof messages, and create legitimate-looking websites.

RELATED: FBI warns these spoofed websites are costing victims thousands

That’s why it’s important to know which companies are often spoofed. This way, you’ll at least have a little bit of a heads up when you receive a text or email and can think twice before buying into it.

With that in mind, researchers with Check Point analyzed popular brands within the tech industry to find out which ones are the most targeted.

According to Check Point, here are the top 10 tech phishing brands in Q4:

  1. Facebook
  2. Yahoo
  3. Netflix
  4. PayPal
  5. Microsoft
  6. Spotify
  7. Apple
  8. Google
  9. Chase
  10. Ray-Ban

It’s interesting Ray-Ban is only number 10 on the list, since fake Ray-Ban ads are constantly popping up all over social media. Who hasn’t come across one or a thousand of them lately? That just goes to show how prevalent these scams really are.

How to stay protected from phishing attacks

Now that you know the brands most likely to be used in phishing attacks, you might be wondering if there are ways to avoid falling victim. Yes, there are. Here are some suggestions.

Be very cautious with links

Receiving a phishing email isn’t the most dangerous part. It’s the links or PDF files that are included in the email.

Those links could lead you to a spoofed website or login page that tricks you into handing over credentials or sensitive information. That’s when you’re in trouble. With the right information, a scammer could destroy your credit, drain your bank accounts and completely steal your identity.

You may also like: See how Facebook stalks you across the web

That’s why it’s critical not to click on links in unsolicited emails. That goes for PDF files that are attached to messages, too. Those PDF files could be malicious and, when opened, they could infect your device with malware, ransomware and other horrible viruses.

If you need to conduct business with a company, it’s best to type the official web address directly into your browser. Never trust a link that’s inside a message.

Use unique passwords

Too many people are still using easy-to-crack passwords like “123456” or “qwerty.” Not only that, but they use the same password for all of their online accounts. Terrible idea!

If credentials from one of your online accounts are exposed in a data breach, all of your online accounts are at risk. That’s because those credentials are now in the hands of hackers and possibly for sale on the Dark Web. If you’re using the same password on all sites, all of your accounts are now in jeopardy.

That’s why it’s extremely important to use unique passwords for every single online account. If you need help creating stronger passwords, we can help. Tap or click here to find out how to create hack-proof passwords.

Use strong security software

It’s a dangerous world out there and you need help avoiding all the scams and malware floating around. The best way to stay protected is to have strong security software from a company you can trust on all of your devices.

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