Avoiding Phishing Scams

Gareth, a Young Scot volunteer, gives us his top tips for avoiding phishing scams!

What is ‘Phishing’?

Phishing is the act of trying to fool someone into pressing on a dangerous link or visiting a website. It’s intention is to get into your phone to access things like credit card information, personal information (like digital footprint or personal details about you) or even your social media accounts.

This information is then generally used in some way against you, whether that be selling information, or using your bank details to buy expensive things that you cannot repay. Victims of phishing can feel the effects of the scam for the rest of their lives.

An example is a 59-year-old woman who lives in the UK. She was finalising payments for a new house until a scammer pretending to be her solicitor managed to trick her into giving them £50,000. She had no idea that they were scammers and in return lost this huge amount of money. All of this money was her life savings. (BBC News)   

How can you prevent these scams?  

The best thing you can do to prevent these scams is to simply double-check every link you are sent. If something doesn’t seem right then you should check with a trusted person to see what they say. Always change your passwords regularly and be careful when you’re using public networks.  

I really cannot tell whether this is a scam or not. What key details should I look out for?  

The three main things scammers do to try and trick you into falling for their traps is be urgent and make you feel emotional. This makes you feel panicked and more inclined to fall for their trick. If they seem extra persuasive, or don’t send something that you would usually receive from that company, it’s best not to click the link and instead directly contact the company via email or phone. They will know best.  

It’s always best to be doubtful instead of optimistic about these suspicious links. You do not want to be one of 80,000 people who have paid the price for falling for phishing scams in the UK annually. 

Young Scot supports young people to share their own voices, views and opinions and works with partner organisations and professionals who are experts in different topics. The views expressed in this blog are those of the young people, organisations and/or individuals who have taken part in the blog, not necessarily the views of Young Scot.

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