Phishing is a type of cyber attack that uses email messages with phony addresses, websites or pop-up windows to gather your personal information, which could be used for a variety of purposes including financial theft, ransom, identity theft or other fraudulent activity.
Phishers circulate emails with legitimate-looking logos and design styles and may link to websites that also look legitimate.
For example, a phisher might send an email asking you to update your Bell billing details to keep your account active. The email will ask you to click on a link taking you to a website that looks like Bell’s, where you’ll be asked for your login and account details.
Or, the email may say you have a computer problem and need to click on or open an attachment to solve it. But if you click on it, you could install something damaging to your computer, or trigger your computer to send your personal information to the phisher.
Phishing can also be in the form of those emails offering money for work-at-home jobs, or asking for help with frozen bank accounts, or offering discounted pharmaceuticals, trips, etc.
What to look for
Here are some clues to recognize a phishing email:
- The sender is not a known or trusted source.
- The email is asking for your personal information, or information that the company should already have.
- The logos do not look right or there is bad spelling and incorrect grammar.
- There is a sense of urgency.
- The email promises large sums of money if you invest a small amount to help collect it.
- The email may be related to work-at-home offers, business opportunities, make-money-fast schemes, credit offers and chain letter schemes.
How to protect yourself
Be realistic; if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Do not respond to requests for personal information, such as your bank account number, in an email.
- Be wary of alarmist, seemingly urgent messages; slightly altered web or email addresses; and emails with spelling and grammar mistakes.
- Look closely at the links – hover over any link to ensure it is a valid website.
- Do not forward virus warnings that come with "send this to everyone you know" requests, even if they appear to come from a credible source. These messages are hoaxes, and if they include any links or attachments, they can be dangerous to your and your friends’ computers.
- Be aware of the communication policies of the companies you deal with and what types of messages they will send.
Bell’s communications to its customers will never:
- Request personal information, such as passwords, PINs, banking or credit card information (unless we are responding to an initial telephone inquiry that you made ).
- Include links to virus removal tools. Instead, we will direct you to support.bell.ca/Internet.
- Include attachments like executable (.exe ) files, password-protected zip files or ISO files.
If we identify that your account has been compromised, we may recommend that you reset your password. Follow the guidelines on good password practices to protect yourself.
For Bell Internet customers, services are available to protect against phishing emails.