How to avoid and prevent phishing scams

Phishing scams are one of the most common methods of cyberattack that millions of people fall into every year. At least once, you probably came across a phishing scam or heard of them from your relative or a colleague. As they come in different forms and from various online sources, cybercriminals are continually looking to improve their methods to attack people and organizations online.


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Fortunately, in most cases, phishing scams can be avoidable, and if you know how to identify them, you are more likely to prevent a cyberattack. We have listed below the most useful tips on how to avoid phishing scams and what to look out for to identify a potential threat.


Identify what to look for 


Phishing attacks are constantly being developed by cybercriminals. If you don’t stay up to date with current digital tools and technology, sooner or later you might fall into a scam without realising. Reading and watching the news about phishing scams can help to familiarise yourself with any exposed recent threats. As a business, it’s important that ongoing cyber security awareness training is provided for all employees. Another useful method is to provide simulated phishing scams for all computer users throughout your organisation. This way you can raise a better understanding of how phishing scams work, and what steps your employees need to take to avoid getting scammed.


Links – don’t click!


Until now, links have been the most common way of phishing scams. Links that come into your email inbox or in a text message are generally not advisable to click on. The safest action is to hover over the link to check if the destination leads to a correct website. Keep in mind, that some of the phishing attacks are fairly sophisticated. That means the destination URL can look-alike a legitimate website, but realistically, it’s been set up to steal your login detail, credit card information or other credentials. To avoid this type of scam, instead of clicking on the link, go to the site through your trusted search engine.


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Use free anti-phishing add-ons


Most of the current browsers have available to download add-ons, designed to identify a malicious website and notify about phishing sites.


Don’t leave your information to an unsecured site 


A safe URL of the website should start with “https”, as well as have a closed padlock icon next to the URL. Don’t action anything on the website, such as download files, or enter your bank details, if the URL or an icon isn’t there. Sites’ without security certificates don’t necessarily come from suspicious sources, but it’s better to stay cautious.


Don’t re-use passwords


If you hold several online accounts, you should get into the habit of setting a unique password for each. This way, you can prevent anyone from gaining access to multiple accounts if one account is breached.


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Always update your device 


Security patches and updates that you are notified about regularly on your computer or mobile device shouldn’t be ignored. They are released to fix any issues that software you are using are currently facing, as well as helping to protect from the newest methods of cyberattacks, by patching holes in security systems. If you don’t update your browser or software, you could be at risk of phishing attacks, that come through the vulnerabilities of your software or browser patches.


Firewalls are important 


Firewalls are one of the most efficient network security systems that are designed to prevent cyber threats, acting as a security shield between your device and an external attacker. Having both, desktop and network firewalls can increase your device security level, reducing the chances of infiltrated visits to your network. We have more insightful information about firewalls and why they play an essential role in business security in our blog post. Have a look!


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Pop-ups can scam you


Unfortunately, some of these pop-up windows that we click on the “Ok” button, are linked to malware that can lead to a scam. With most browsers, you can now download and install free ad-blocker software, designed to eliminate most malicious pop-ups. Keep in mind, if by any reason you come across a pop-up window on your screen, don’t click the “Close” button, always try to look for an “x” in one of the corners.


Keep your important information to yourself


Providing your card or personal information on the site you are on, is like providing it to a person. Could you share your details with a stranger on the street? Unlikely. The same should be applied when using an unverified website. Unless you completely trust the site you are on, you should not give any of your information. Make sure that each time you are about to provide any of your details, double-check if the website is genuine, you know about the company, and the site itself is secure (look for “https” and a closed padlock icon in the link).

Phishing attacks can be still the most damaging types of attacks that hackers use to break into accounts, scam your company and steal the most valuable data that your organisation rely on. But following these steps, utilizing a range of security tools, and educating your employees, will help to protect your users and data from phishing, as well as improve your organisation’s security. These all will help to save your business money in the long run.

Have you implemented the right technology solutions to prevent cyber threats? Are your security tools up to date? Are your employees have a complete understanding of what phishing is? Is your business now moved into a remote working model? How secure do you feel about it?

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We are happy to support and help you with any cybersecurity questions that you may have. Are you looking for a new managed IT provider who can work with you and fully maintain your IT side of the business? Cybersecurity is one of the services that we provide to our clients across the UK. Having an honest chat about your business growth and goals will help you make better choices on IT services that we can tailor and support you throughout your journey. Get in touch today and find out more about how we can help.


ADT Systems has been providing expertise and great customer service since 1993. We have plenty of great advice that we can share with you! Call us on 0330 333 7439 or simply drop us an email at


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ADT Systems Team