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Phishing is a cybercrime that involves stealing sensitive information, like passwords or payment details. A successful phishing attack can give fraudsters everything they need to ransack personal and business accounts, so it’s important to take steps to protect yourself.

Phishers use fake emails, popup messages, and Internet pages that look exactly like the real thing. For example, they may warn that your bank account has been frozen or ask you to update your security information online. Or, they might pretend to be a trusted business and ask you to call them or log in to a website to provide confidential information. They also use the telephone to contact people and direct them to suspicious sites, or even to call an automated service that collects personal data.

While some phishing attacks can be identified by obvious spelling and grammar mistakes, attackers are becoming more sophisticated in their approach. Messages that include alarming subjects such as ‘Account suspended’ or ‘Funds on hold’ are designed to encourage you to act quickly, so you don’t check for inconsistencies.

Similarly, if you are prompted to download a file or click on a link that looks suspicious, don’t do it! This can install malware on your device that silently eavesdrops and sends private data to attackers. To reduce the likelihood of phishing, you should always keep your software and devices up to date with the latest patches. You should also consider using a secure browser, changing your passwords regularly and reviewing the privacy settings on your social media profiles.