Phishing – what do I do?

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Phishing – what do I do? A reader asks…

I got an email from “ekaterina @ positek . ai”, asking me to fill my personal info on some Google form to participate in some ‘bitcoin giveaway’. As I found it a little fishy, I googled “positek” and found your site, which seems legit to me. This is the second time that I have received such an email in the last few days so i couldn’t hold myself but ask it out. Can you tell me what to do about this?

First off, I do not control or have anything to do with the domain positek.ai. Anyone can reserve domain names, and I only control the Positek domain for a few selected domain name suffixes, such as .net & .org. There are hundreds of those suffixes that can be reserved. Someone else has that domain and is apparently using it for phishing expeditions. Phishing is defined as:

The fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers. “an email that is likely a phishing scam” From Oxford Languages

Current stats show that nearly 85% of all the email traffic crossing the internet every day is unwanted junk email, aka “spam”. A good part of that is also made up of scam, hacking attempts and other ways nefarious netizens use to further their causes (usually lining their pockets with yours and other people’s money). The incidence of scam messages like what you received has increased significantly in 2022, as crooks are working harder and smarter at cheating unwary people.

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Like all spam, you have a few choices. You can block the sender (adding them to your junk sender’s list), or simply delete and ignore that and any other messages. Blocking the sender may be only marginally effective as the scammers will use hundreds of different and unique email addresses to originate their emails, often obfuscating the return path so that they can’t be traced.

Phishing messages are fairly easy to spot, in the case of the one you received, it a) did not come from a google domain (or a domain you recognize), and b) asked for personal info. Your instincts were correct, it looked fishy. You should be suspicious of any unasked-for email that asks you for information, and be very wary about giving up any of your personal information. In particular, never give out any login credentials to anyone else unless you know the person in real life and trust them completely. Even then it can be risky, as that other person’s identity may have been stolen online and they might not be in control of their own email account. Best to not share sensitive information except physically, person-to-person.

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I should say that I see dozens of phishing and other scam emails every week. The sheer volume of these types of junk email is so huge that it’s nearly impossible to track down and prosecute the criminals. We’re all busy people anyway, and so the simplest solution is to delete and ignore. If your email app or service has good spam-fighting controls (such as what’s on every gmail account), use the “Report spam” button instead of the trash can.


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