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Cybersafe August 31, 2021

Four Common Phishing Scams You Should Look Out For

Phishing is one of the most common cybercrimes that we are dealing with in recent times. Its “modus operandi” involves receiving a message wherein you are instructed to click on a link, and then give your personal information.

Once you give your sensitive personal data, criminals will use them to steal your hard-earned money. Unfortunately, in social media, it is now common to see people losing tens or hundreds of thousands of pesos after being tricked by these fake links. The financial damage one suffers could be devastating as it will impact your ability to pay for your needs and wants.

With that said, the best way to protect ourselves from phishing is to be aware of them so that we do not fall victims ourselves. Here are some common phishing scams you should be aware of:


Have you ever received a call from an unknown number of someone who purportedly works for a bank? Then the call will more or less sound like you have a problem with your credit card and to fix that problem, the “bank employee” will ask for your account details?

Whenever you receive such a call, it is alright to feel suspicious because it could be vishing in action. Vishing is a form of phishing that happens via phone calls, with criminals trying their best to convince you to hand over your personal data.

Should you face a similar situation, always remember that banks will NEVER ask for data such as your one-time password (OTP) and account number over the phone. To prevent the criminal from victimizing others, you can report the incident to your bank so that they can take action against the cybercriminals behind the vishing scams.


One reason why phishing scams can be so effective is that they manipulate people’s emotions by creating a state of panic, that is, that there is a problem with one’s bank account and that they need to act immediately. Banking clients may have encountered scenarios just like what is shown in the screenshot above.

This is what you see if you are being victimized by smishing, a type of phishing that takes place through text messages. Just like vishing, the way to be safe from this scam requires you to know that banks will NEVER ask for your personal data. 

You should also know how to determine whether a text message from a bank is an authentic one or a fake message coming from a criminal. It is easy to know the difference because you can compare with what banks frequently post on social media or send to your emails updating you about the latest scams going around trying to harm you.


Have you ever seen an ad online saying you have won the latest iPhone or a really big amount of money? Usually, these ads will tell you to download or click on a link if you want to know the next steps to redeem your prize.

If the news sounds so good to be true, most of the time it is fraud and a malvertising attack. Malvertising comes from the words “malicious” and “advertising”, and cybercriminals put malware behind these seemingly innocent ads. Once you download the link, malware is then installed on your computer and the criminals will then steal your personal information.

The best way to avoid being a victim of malvertising is to always be doubtful of these ads. Just like other types of phishing scams, no harm will happen if you do not click or download the links the criminals are baiting you with. In addition, other safety tips you can do include installing an ad blocker and making sure your antivirus software is up to date.

Email Phishing

Just like smishing, emails such as the screenshot above are effective at tricking people because they create a state of fear forcing victims to do things the criminals wanted. Victims usually become careless and lose the ability to think whether the email they have received comes from an authentic bank source or from criminals impersonating as bank employees.

Banks in the Philippines know that this is a very common phishing scam, so they regularly post on social media and send emails to their clients on how to know whether the email you have purportedly received from them is a phishing scam. The media also reports on banks’ campaigns to increase their clients’ awareness of the latest phishing scams.

It is very important for everyone to be aware of email phishing scams because they are increasingly getting difficult to detect, such as the absence of typos and the fake website having very little to no difference from a real website of a bank. In this case, the best way to protect ourselves from email phishing is to always learn from the cybersecurity-related content that banks always post online or email to us.