In the world of Phishing scams, targets with the most funds and resources are called “whales.” Some examples of “Whales” can include members of a company’s executive management team, politicians, celebrities, and others in high-profile positions.
Those that hunt “Whales” are known as “Whalers,” and they frequently brandish far more sophisticated versions of traditional phishing softwares to disabuse their targets of important information.
Usually, they’ll send their targets an email that conveys the need for their guarded information with a sense of urgency, claiming that jobs or lives hang in the balance if their requests are not fulfilled.
How to Avoid Getting Hooked by a Phishing Scam
Despite phishers’ best efforts, there are simple ways to avoid getting hooked!
Exaggerated Urgency is a Red Flag
Generally, emails that seem wildly urgent and claim to be from trusted parties are scams. Law enforcement agencies don’t issue warrants or subpoenas electronically, and financial institutions and workplaces will be happy to allow you to corroborate their claims either in person or over the phone.
If a party seems intent on interfering with your due diligence, be wary!
Call and Type to Corroborate
If you’re unsure if a trusted party has reached out to you, don’t hesitate to call them at the number you have saved for them – not the one provided by the email.
Similarly, verify information provided in an email by manually typing in the URL for company from which it purports to be and seeing if you can find something substantiating the email’s claim on the official company site.
Do not use links provided in the email, as they might lead to a Spoof Site.
Act Once You Know
The simplest rule of thumb to abide by is, “If something feels fishy, it might be phishing.” If your gut is telling you something is off about a site, take the time to verify the claims. If the email is from a reputable source, they won’t mind if you take the time to follow the necessary precautions, and if the source is malignant, a little bit of research can spare you a world of discomfort further down the line.