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What Should You Do If You Are a Victim of a Phishing Attack? – Falling into a phishing attack can happen to anyone. This is a scary concept that can make you panic. Phishing attacks, also known as phishing scams, involve using emails and fake websites to steal sensitive information such as passwords, credit card numbers, account data, addresses, and more.

If you are a victim of a phishing attack, here are five steps you should take now to protect yourself and your data.

1- Calm Down!

Phishing attacks have become increasingly complex, so don’t blame yourself. Take a few deep breaths to calm down, clear your head and plan your steps. Remember that falling into a phishing scam does not mean your identity will be stolen. Because phishing patterns vary, what you do next depends on what type of phisher is targeting you.

If you downloaded a fake attachment, turn off Wi-Fi and disconnect the internet. If you remove the phisher from accessing your computer quickly enough, you can stop the phisher from installing or remotely accessing your computer. If you clicked a link to a fake website, try to remember precisely the information you entered. Take screenshots of the phishing email or write down details such as the sender’s email address, the email’s content, and the URL you clicked.

2- Change Your Passwords

If you clicked a link that takes you to a site that looks like your bank or social media account, for instance, log in to the actual site and change your old password. If your password is the same for multiple accounts – and you shouldn’t – change the passwords for other accounts as well. Check your profile or recent activities to see if the phisher has done any damage or made any purchases using your account.

3- Scan Your Computer

It will be good to scan your computer for viruses and malware. Anti-virus software can examine your computer and alert you to files that may be infected. If it is unclear whether your computer has malware, consider hiring an expert to assist you.

4- Watch Out Signs of Identity Theft

If you have disclosed any financial information or other sensitive data such as your Social Security number, you should watch out for signs of identity theft. First, keep a close eye on your bank and credit card statements by checking for any withdrawals or purchases you have not authorized. You may also ask your bank to alert you about any unusual activity. Then, to protect your credit score, notify three major credit reporting agencies that your information is compromised. Finally, order your credit report from three agents to make sure your reports are accurate and don’t include new credit lines.

5. Prevent Further Phishing Attacks!

Now is the time to take precautions to protect yourself against future phishing attacks. Be careful when checking your inbox and pause before clicking links or downloading files from suspicious emails. If you get an email that looks like it came from your bank, credit card company, or social media accounts, take a minute to examine it closely. Rather than revealing any personal information, call the company to determine if the email is official.

We explained “how to prevent phishing attacks” in our previous posts more comprehensively. I strongly recommend you to test yourself and your employees against phishing attacks by Keepnet Labs’s Phishing Simulator and train yourself and your employees with Keepnet Labs’s Awareness Educator to achieve the best results against phishing attacks in the long run.

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