what are phishing emails

Understanding Phishing Emails | Protecting Personal Data

Due to a rising number of security breach incidents and data breaches that impact millions of Americans, the U.S. government and consumer safety organizations are urging individuals and companies to educate themselves on the basics of personal and work network security. Understanding how phishing emails and cyberattacks work is a good start.

In recent years, ransomware and phishing attacks have been the weapons of choice for cybercriminals, and in successful data breach incidents, hackers can harvest a load of valuable personal information.

Why Do Hackers Use Phishing Emails?

Phishing attacks, in particular, are successful in many instances because they are disguised as emails or other communications from supposedly trustworthy sources. Some common phishing email scams may include:

  • Account Deactivation: common phishing emails alert an individual that their account will be deactivated unless they take action and send certain personal information or credit card numbers
  • Compromised Credit Card: a similar phishing email alerts a consumer that their card has been used fraudulently and asks an individual to confirm their credit card details to protect their account
  • Transfer of Funds: emails are masked as from an employer (sometimes a superior) and may ask an individual to urgently send a wire to a vendor
  • Social Media Request: in other scams, a friend of a friend requests to follow, and begins to send media packed with malware that may seep into the company’s network

Joe Lyon is a data privacy attorney investigating data breach incidents and is actively filing class action data breach lawsuits on behalf of plaintiffs nationwide. If a company fails to properly protect your personal information, and data is stolen, you may have an invasion of privacy claim.

What Data can Hackers Steal With Phishing Emails?

Cybercriminals can use a creative mix of personal data to create a profile bold enough to create opportunities for fraud and identity theft. In phishing emails, hackers typically ask for the following:

  • Date of birth
  • Social security numbers
  • Phone numbers
  • Credit card numbers
  • Home address
  • Passwords

What are some Examples Phishing Attacks?

Some examples of requested actions via email may include:

  • Clicking on an attachment
  • Downloading media
  • Updating passwords
  • Adding a new friend in a social media request
  • Using an unknown wifi hot spot

How do I Deal With Phishing Emails?

Data breach experts encourage workers and individuals to stay alert and be aware of the following phishing schemes:

  • Clicking on links and attachments in any email can be hazardous, and workers should hesitate and make sure the email is legit. Phishing scams nowadays can be very convincing, so we are all tested more often than we would like.
  • Any extremely urgent message, that requires urgent action should be a potential caution sign. Many phishing email scams warn of dire consequences should you not take immediate action. Again, make sure the message is legitimate before sending any critical personal information to some unknown email or number.
  • Don’t re-use passwords on multiple web sites. If you feel like that is in your best interest, consider password managers like Dashlane, Keepass, LastPass and Roboform.
  • Beware of phishing phone calls as well. Some scammers may ask for personal and financial information using some of your personal info to sound like they are legitimate. If you have doubts, you can call back at a later time.

What some Phishing Risks?

  • Fraudulent charges on debit or credit cards
  • Data Theft: Lost personal photos, videos, and other saved files
  • Exposing the personal information of friends or coworkers
  • Company data files become lost or inaccessible
  • Identity Theft

To learn more about recent security breach incidents and to join current class action privacy lawsuits, contact The Lyon Firm. Call for a free and confidential consultation.

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