Protecting Your Online Identity

Protecting your online identity: Tips to avoid phishing threats

Phishing is a type of cyber-attack that targets you via email, phone, or text message by impersonating a legitimate organization to deceive individuals into providing sensitive data such as personal information, banking, and credit card information, and passwords – all of which can lead to identity theft and financial loss.

In 2022, phishing scams will continue to remain one of the most serious threats to both individuals and businesses. Here are some tips to help you spot phishing scams and reduce identity theft risk.

How to spot a phishing threat?

  1. To Good to be True – Lucrative offers and eye-catching statements are intended to capture people’s attention instantly. Keep an eye out for winning lotteries or contests you did not enter, prizes you must pay to acquire, and inheritances from long-lost relatives.
  2. Sense of Urgency – True emergencies do not occur over email. Watch for threatening tone, legal threats, or pressure to respond quickly. Most reputable firms provide enough notice before terminating an account and never require customers to update personal information over the Internet. When in doubt, contact the source directly rather than clicking a link in an email.
  3. Requests for sensitive information – Personal information should never be shared over email or text. Watch out for links to login pages, requests to update account information, and demands for personal information.
  4. Mismatched Information – The URL takes you to a completely unrelated website or an incorrectly spelled popular website. Keep an eye out for misspelled but similar-looking spellings, unknown senders, links that do not lead to official websites, and any spelling or grammatical errors that a respectable organization would never make.
  5. Suspicious Attachments/Hyperlinks – Avoid opening attachments in emails that you did not expect or make no sense. They frequently contain threats such as malware or viruses. Keep an eye out for attachments you did not request, strange file names, and unusual file formats.
  6. Unusual and unexpected emails – Be wary of communications from strangers or services you did not sign up for. Keep a watch out for receipts for products you didn’t buy or updates on delivery you didn’t request.

If you see any of these red flags, do not click on them, do not reply or forward, and do not open any attachments. Delete the communication and reach out to the sender by phone number through the contact details you have saved rather than using the number shown in the suspicious email which may have been doctored.

Though hackers are constantly coming up with new techniques, there are some things that you can do to protect yourself and your organization:

  • Do not share personal information online – Emails sent by hackers are typically camouflaged to look like a business whose services the victim uses. A bank will not email you for personal information or suspend your account if you do not update your personal information within a particular time frame. Most banks and financial organizations will also include an account number or other personal information in the email, ensuring that it comes from a trustworthy source.
  • Frequently update passwords – While the user image is displayed, many websites require users to enter login credentials. This type of system may be vulnerable to security breaches. Passwords should be changed regularly, and never use the same password for multiple accounts.
  • Use spam filters – To evaluate whether a message is spam, the filter examines its origin, the software used to transmit it, and its appearance. Spam filters, however, may also reject emails from legitimate sources, so it is not always accurate.
  • Change your browser settings – Browser settings should be modified to prevent fraudulent websites from opening. Browsers keep a list of fake websites that, when opened, either block the address or display an alert message. Only trusted websites should be allowed to open in the browser settings.

If you receive an unexpected or suspicious communication from Skyline Wealth Management Inc., please reach out to your Advisor directly before responding.


For media inquiries, please contact:

Bethany Curtis
Manager, Content Marketing and Communications
Skyline Group of Companies
5 Douglas Street, Suite 301
Guelph, ON N1H 2S8
519.826.0439 x231