Blog Post

Phishing: A Common Form of Identity Theft in Businesses

Identity theft is a fast-growing criminal activity involving unauthorised use of personal details of individuals, usually for financial gain.

A recent study showed that:

  • 76% of South Africans believe that identity theft is more likely than ever before;
  • 2 in 3 (67%) feel it is more difficult to control their personal information as a result of smartphones and the Internet;
  • South Africans are engaged with the topic of security (78% acknowledge the need to actively protect their information), but there is still some notion that security is an inconvenience;

But, how does you identity get stolen? One of the ways is phishing.

When you outsource (some of) your IT at Gist, we’ll take care of your IT systems for you. In addition to our support we would like to help you better understand how to avoid falling victim to phishing attacks. Therefore here are some of the most common ways of phishing attacks that companies are subjected to and ways for businesses to prevent them.



Phishing attacks are one of the most common security challenges in keeping information secure. Both individuals and companies face phishing attacks, but businesses are a particularly worthwhile target. Hackers are using every channel (from email to social media and phone calls) to steal valuable data, whether it's getting access to passwords, credit cards, or other sensitive information.

  •   As explained in an earlier blog on preventing malware, it is important to recognize the qualities that identify an attack through email:

The “phishers”:

- duplicate the image of a real company;

- copy the name of a company or an actual employee of the company;

- include sites that look similar to a real business;

- promote gifts, or the loss of an existing account.

In general, these emails are poorly written or translated which may be another indicator that something is wrong. However phishers are becoming increasingly clever so also be wary of well-written emails!

Additionally, don't click on any ad promoting a too-good-to-be-true offer, not even if it comes from a reputable source. If it looks too good to be true, it probably isn’t.

  •   Check the source of information from incoming mail

Your bank will never ask you to send your passwords or personal information by mail. Never respond to these questions, and if you have the slightest doubt, call your bank directly for clarification.

  •   Never go to your bank’s website by clicking on links Included in emails

Do not click on hyperlinks or links attached in the email, as it might direct you to a fraudulent website. Phishers can clone the bank’s website to make it appear identical to the original website. 

Type in the URL directly into your browser or use bookmarks / favourites if you want to go faster.


  •   Enhance the security of your IT systems

Common sense and good judgement is as vital as keeping your IT systems protected with a good antivirus to block this type of attack.

In addition, having the most recent updates on your operating system and web browsers is very important. In the Navigator Platform you will be able to see whether there’s any antivirus or update that should be updated. If you’re interested in our services and the highly useful Navigator Platform, don’t hesitate to contact us!

  •   Enter your sensitive data in secure websites only

In order for a website to be ‘safe’, it must begin with ‘https://’ and your browser should show an icon of a closed lock.

  •   If you have the slightest doubt, do not take the risk

The best way to prevent phishing is to consistently reject any email or news that asks you to provide confidential data. If you are not sure about the authenticity of an email or website, avoid it or get in touch with us to check the authenticity.

  •   Follow us to keep up to date about the latest malware

If you want to keep up to date with the latest malware attacks, recommendations or advice on how to avoid any threats to your business’ IT environment, read our blog or join the conversation on our Linkedin and follow us on Facebook. We’re always happy to help should you have any questions.


By outsourcing your IT department, we’ll take care of IT.


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