All these lakes and fraudsters still try to phish online!

Scammers and fraud artists are lurking all over the internet to try to get ahold of consumer personal information, particularly your financial data. These scams will likely continue because they work and scammers continue to make massive profits off of innocent victims. Thankfully, there are a few surefire ways to safeguard your money against these deceiving tricksters. That's why your friends at Speedy Cash want to outline some best practices to help protect your information and demonstrate the measures we take to shield you against these predators.

1. Assess digital threats

Phishing is one of the most common forms of fraudulent digital data collection. Phishing is "an attempt by an individual or group to solicit personal information from unsuspecting users by employing social engineering techniques," according to the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) Website. These social engineering techniques can range from false phone calls, in-person visits, or emails, to more recently, social media campaigns. Phishing emails mimic legitimate sources by attempting to replicate official marketing material. What does that mean for you while scrolling through your inbox? Everything in the email looks the same (like a logo or particular verbiage) and it may even link to a seemingly real business page. When in doubt, go directly to the source rather than clicking on a potentially dangerous link.

Quick Protection Tips

Install and keep updated any anti-virus software, firewalls, and email filters to reduce this traffic
Reference any known phishing scams with the Anti-Phishing Working Group

2. Avoid being a victim

Now, you may be thinking "I would never fall for that" or "their tactics are so obvious," but that?s simply not true. In fact, your risk of clicking on a bad link may be higher than you think. According to Fortune Magazine, KnowBe4 measured that in a free online phishing test they held from April 1 to June 30, 2017, 22,060 individuals fell for one of their top 10 phishing emails. They sent 6.6 million bogus messages to 2 million individuals. Each of the participants that clicked on the link in the email could've caused a real data breach had it not merely been a test. It is noted that more individuals fell for alternative phishing emails, and this is only the number for those that clicked on one of the top 10. So that number, in reality, is even bigger than over 22,000! Crazy, huh?

Below is the top 10 list (by subject line) of their most successful phishing emails:

Security Alert (21%)
Revised Vacation & Sick Time Policy (14%)
UPS Label Delivery 1ZBE312TNY00015011 (10%)
Breaking: United Airlines Passenger Dies from Brain Hemorrhage ? Video (10%)
A Delivery Attempt was Made (10%)
All Employees: Update Your Healthcare Info (9%)
Change of Password Required Immediately (8%)
Password Check Required Immediately (7%)
Unusual Sign-in Activity (6%)
Urgent Action Required (6%)

Percentages based on phishing emails that tricked 22,060 people (Q2 2017)

Seems a little more real, right? How often do you receive and click on links from emails similar to these subject lines? Everyone is at risk for falling for this false advertising, because phishers are getting smarter and smarter with their tactics. As a consumer, phishers most commonly use these 4 tactics to get you to click on links or open up bogus attachments:

Most common phishing scams

Tech support scams

False claims about your account to get you to reveal your information

Social media

Providing false information through messaging on social media platforms (namely Facebook or LinkedIn) to get you to give away your credentials

CEO Fraud

Emails "sent" by your boss/CEO to get wire transfers or other forms of payments sent somewhere, particularly overseas

Infected attachments

Downloading documents or .HTML links so they can hack into your files

Ways to identify online phishing scams

Phishing scams are scary, but you can avoid becoming a victim yourself. Here are some signs to help identify phishing emails:

Obvious misspellings in bodies of text or weblinks
Accounts urgently needing updated banking or personal secure information like date of birth, Social Security Number, or account password
Unbelievable offers (i.e. trips to the Bahamas you've "won" but never submitted information for)
The emails come from a personal account and not the domain of your trusted provider
The email threatens false debt-collection claims (i.e. fictitious case number, threatens your employment or taking legal action, etc.)
The email asks for an advance payment or pre-payment
The email requires funds to be loaded to a prepaid card (even gift cards) or sent with a wire transfer
The webpage is identical to a real business webpage, but the URL is a variation on spelling or from a different domain (i.e. .com vs .net)

3. Verify before you identify

Know that the person or provider you are trusting your information with is who they say they are. This holds true for any case whether you received an email saying your account balance is low and need to transfer funds immediately, or you've just "won" an all-expenses paid trip to Disneyworld. No matter the circumstances, if you feel that the email or claimed information is false, do not provide them with your personal information. Call or email the valid contact information for the business (not ones listed in the suspect email) and verify that the claimed information is correct. Any respectable customer service base will gladly share with you if it's a verifiably accurate campaign. If they tell you it is false, report the email or other social interaction as a phishing scam.

The Speedy Cash Promise

At Speedy Cash, we understand it?s a difficult decision to trust your money and financial data with a business. Worrying about finances can be hard enough without also having to stress over possible data breaches and unsecure networks. Our employees are regularly trained to identify and defend our network against any phishing scams. We have a skilled Fraud Department that proactively mitigates and keeps up with any known scams falsely claiming to be Speedy Cash. Our webpages have earned the McAfee? SECURE and the Norton SECURED? certifications, so you know that your information is with a trusted vendor.

At Speedy Cash, we value the privacy and security of your personal and financial information. Our Security Center houses warning signs for false debt-collection calls, emails, and other forms of communication, along with loan scam tips and additional resources from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Your friends at Speedy Cash want to provide you with the resources to make the right financial decisions for you, especially when it comes to sharing your personal financial data. By following these simple strategies, together we can help eliminate some of the many phishing scams online and create a safer user-experience.

Remember: never give your sensitive information to anyone unless you can verify that they are indeed who they say they are and that they should have access to this information.