The theme of week two of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month is recognizing fake emails, texts and chat messages. These are messages that masquerade as something they’re not, in an effort to trick you into getting in trouble.

The most notorious of these is known as the “phishing” email (the “ph” spelling is a goofy story all of its own).

The phishing email is one that is part of a fishing expedition, in that deceptive emails are distributed far and wide in the hopes that a fish (an unsuspecting victim) will take the bait and be tricked into doing something they would not otherwise do. “Phishing” expeditions can also include text and chat messages.

According to the National CyberSecurity Alliance, a large percentage of cyberattacks in 2020 used phishing, while 74 percent of US organizations experienced a successful phishing attack last year alone. That makes phishing emails and texts some of the top ways the Internet bad guys trick people into dangerous behavior.

Learning the warning signs of a phishing scam attempt is critical to staying out of trouble. Sometimes, things like bad grammar, misspelled words and being urgently commanded to click on odd-looking links or open unknown attachments make a bogus message easy to spot.

However, Internet crooks have polished their skills…

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