Don’t Take the Bait: What You Need to Know to Avoid Phishing Attacks

avoid phishing attempts

Phishing is one of the most common methods cybercriminals gain access to an individual’s personal information or details. This breach of data security is dangerous for anyone online or even on the phone, and can be detrimental to a business.

What Do Phishing Attacks Look Like?

In order to help avoid phishing attacks, it’s necessary to know what you’re looking for. 

The reason phishing scams and attacks are so dangerous is that they appear authentic communication from a company or services you’re familiar with or currently use. These communications can convince the viewer to enter or speak sensitive personal details which are collected.

The stolen information allows cybercriminals to gain access to your accounts, authorize products or services, and more. There are several types of phishing attacks, including the following:

Spear Phishing

Spear phishing uses familiar or known details from a company or entity to trick users into entering personal information. For example, an email appearing to be from a bank may ask you to click a link that takes you to a form to “Log in,” where the criminals collect your information.

According to research, up to 91% of successful phishing attacks occur because of spear-phishing tactics. Over half use common attachments such as Word documents or PDFs.


Whaling is an advanced phishing scheme targeting executives within a company. The cybercriminals usually mimic a legitimate email tricking the individual into offering sensitive information.

Criminals use social-engineering tactics to gather information about the target of the whaling phishing attack. They then use that information to trick the user into divulging or handing over financial information, company details, or even wiring money. 


This type of phishing comes through unsolicited ads appearing to be spam. They look like an attempt to sell a product or service.

Phishing emails can appear as harmless spam and use established brand names to mimic offers and deals. This is a common method to trick users into entering details or signing up for offers using personal information they then steal. 


Vishing uses phones as a way to coerce the victim into revealing personal information to criminals. The caller will pose as an official agent of an organization, government agency, or other legitimate entity.

The caller then pressures the target into divulging personal information such as social security numbers or other personal information.

These scammers make the call sound urgent and can even seem threatening. They commonly use the threat of legal action or penalties to scare the target into compliance.

What Happens if I Click on a Link?

Cybercriminals can use various ways to convince a victim to click a link or open an email containing software that steals information and can cause large amounts of damage to individual devices as well as entire servers.

Usually, after clicking on a link, malware is downloaded onto the network or server, comes from emails but can come from ads, texts, and other messages. In many cases, the electronic device ceases to function correctly or can even freeze. This then leads to downtime, and often results in data either being stolen to be held ransom (also known as ransomware) or is erased altogether.

Best Practices for Avoiding Phishing Attacks

One of the best ways to avoid phishing attacks within your company or organization is to have a solid managed service provider (MSP) to provide top support for quality data security. The best MSPs provide extensive employee training and ongoing, continued support for IT service needs.If you’re currently interested in working with industry cybersecurity experts who can provide protection and security against phishing scams and other cybercriminal threats, contact Syzygy 3. We are able to provide businesses with advanced training for employees and install the latest antivirus software and firewalls.