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Phishing Scams: how to spot and protect yourself

The term, very common in the world of cybersecurity, refers to the theft of personal information such as passwords, identity and bank details through text messages, emails or fraudulent websites that appear to be from reliable sources and similar to those the victim trust. It is one of the ways that criminals are most successful and also one of the oldest types of attacks.

‘Phishing’ originates from the English language, derived from the word ‘fishing’. This analogy is based on practices of “baits” made by scammers to lure people into taking actions that reveal their confidential data. With this, the user, when “taking the bait”, is persuaded to pass on information that should be kept confidential. In some cases, malware can also be installed on the device.

Criminals use narratives that convince through curiosity, urgency or fear for links and attachments to be opened. Most phishing consists of offers that don't exist, requests for money, and problems with debts and invoices.

Damages to victims include:

  • Loss of sensitive personal information such as login credentials, credit card numbers and social security numbers.

  • Unauthorized access to personal accounts and financial resources.

  • Installation of malware and other malicious software on the user's device.

  • Identity theft and financial fraud.

  • Damage to user reputation and trust in online interactions.

  • Loss of access to important accounts or systems.

  • Loss of money on unauthorized transactions.

  • Unwanted spam and unwanted emails.

  • Possible legal repercussions if the user unknowingly participates in illegal activities as a result of a phishing scam.

Scammers take advantage to also manipulate brand logos names, colors and slogans in the form of an image to convey more veracity to the email content.

Below we can observe a real case of a phishing recently received by email that appears to be from the CTT (Correios de Portugal), in which it tries to persuade the user to pay a fee for reshipping the product.

We can notice that the sender does not correspond to the official CTT email.

Another curious fact of this phishing is that if the user scrolls to the end of the email, he finds several things in another language.

By clicking on "Change my delivery", we are directed to several other windows to try to gain user trust. Obviously the URL is not from the CTT.

Finally, the attack happens when the user enters his personal and payment information in the last window.

To avoid phishing scams, here are some tips:

  • Avoid private information to strangers;

  • Do not click on unknown or suspicious links, even if they come from trusted sources.

  • Check the website URL before entering personal or confidential information. Make sure you're on a secure site with "https" and a green padlock in the address bar.

  • Do not provide personal or confidential information via email, text message or instant message. Legitimate financial institutions, for example, will never ask for such information through these means.

  • Keep your system and security software up to date.

  • Watch out for spelling and grammatical errors in suspicious messages.

  • Use spam and phishing blocking tools.

  • Train yourself and your employees on how to detect and avoid phishing.

  • Analyze email addresses such as sender, grammar errors in email body, etc.

  • Be aware of pop-up windows;


When identifying a phishing email, you can COPY the suspicious URL and send it to Google's Report Phishing Page through the link

In addition, each country has its own means of reporting phishings, just do a search on the internet.

Stay tuned for more news on our blog!


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