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Four Common Types of Spam and Tips to Identify Them

October 8, 2020

October is Cyber Security Month so it’s the perfect time for us to share the most common types of spam and tips for avoiding them.

1. Phishing

Phishing is the most common form of spam. It’s typically delivered through an email, chat, web ad or website that has been designed to impersonate a real person or organization. Phishing messages deliver a sense of urgency or fear to persuade the user to give up their data. A phishing message might come from an individual impersonating a bank, the government or a major corporation.

2. Vishing

Vishing is similar to phishing, except it happens over the phone. The scammers ask for your personal information such as date of birth, address, financial information and more.

3. Baiting

Baiting, similar to phishing, involves offering something enticing in exchange for your login information or private data. The “bait” comes in different ways such as through a music or movie download, or a corporate branded flash drive labeled “Executive Salary Summary Q3” that is left out on a desk for someone to find. Once the bait is downloaded, malicious software is delivered directly to the device, giving the hacker access

4. Quid Pro Quo

Quid pro quo involves a hacker requesting critical data or login credentials in exchange for a service. For example, you receive a phone call from the hacker who poses as a technology expert offering free IT assistance for personal information. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is quid pro quo.

To help avoid spam, follow these four tips

  • Slow down. Spammers want you to act first and think later. If the message conveys a sense of urgency, carefully review before deciding to act.
  • Research the facts. Be suspicious of any unsolicited messages. If the email looks like it is from a company you use, but something seems off, do your research.
  • Beware of any download. If you don’t know the sender personally, and receive a file out of the blue, be weary of downloading.
  • Don’t let a link be in control of where you land. Find the website yourself using a search engine to be sure you land where you intend to land. Hovering over links in email will show the actual URL at the bottom, but a good fake can still steer you wrong.

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