By Maxwell Oyekunle

In today’s digital age, the internet has become an integral part of our daily lives, but it also comes with significant risks such as phishing scams and identity theft.

Phishing scams and identity theft can lead to devastating consequences, including financial loss, reputational damage, and emotional distress.

It is crucial to prioritize online safety and take proactive measures to protect yourself from these threats.

By being aware of the tactics used by cybercriminals and taking simple yet effective steps to secure your online presence, you can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to phishing attacks.

Here’s a simple guide to help you stay safe online

What is Phishing?

Phishing is a scam where attackers try to trick you into giving them your personal information, such as passwords or credit card numbers. They often do this by sending fake emails or messages that look like they’re from a legitimate company or website.

How to Spot Phishing Scams

1. Check the URL (Universal Resource Locator): Before clicking on a link, hover over (place the cursor on the link for a few seconds) to see the actual URL. Look for misspellings or extra characters compared to the true spelling of the website the scammers are trying to imitate. For example, abcd.com is not the same as abbcd.com, mike.edu.ng is not the same as mikeedu.ng.

2. Verify SSL (Secure Sockets Layer): Make sure the website uses “https://” and has a padlock icon.This indicates a secure, encrypted connection between a browser or user’s computer and a server or website.

3. Verify the sender: Check the sender’s email address to make sure it’s legitimate.

4. Beware of Urgent Requests: Scammers often create a sense of urgency to make you act quickly without thinking. Be cautious of emails or messages that pressure you to respond immediately.

5. Check for Poor Design: Phishing websites may have low-quality graphics, incorrect logos, or unusual layouts compared to legitimate sites.

6. Avoid Pop-ups: These are new windows that open quickly on a computer screen in front of what you are working on. Several of them can “pop up” on a single webpage. Don’t enter personal information into pop-up windows on websites.

7. Use Security Software: Install antivirus and anti-phishing tools on your devices. These can help detect and block malicious websites.

8. Be cautious with links: Don’t click on links from unfamiliar emails or websites. If you need to go to a website, type the URL directly into your browser.

9. Watch for spelling and grammar mistakes: Legitimate companies usually have professional emails without mistakes.

10. Keep your antivirus software up to date: This will help protect you from malware and other online threats.

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