I clicked the link... What to do if I Clicked on a Phishing Link

We get asked this question a lot in response to this phishing scam alert post, so we wanted to provide some more information about what to do if you clicked the link in a phishing email.

7 steps to take if you accidentally clicked on a phishing link:

1. This goes without saying, but do not enter any information.

Clicked on a phishing link but did not enter details?

Unfortunately, a phishing site can perform double duty and may act to both download a malicious file as well as prompt you to enter details. To be on the safe side, you may want to assume something may have been downloaded and take the precautions listed below.

Clicked on a phishing link on an iPhone or iPad?

iPhones and iPads are generally perceived to be less vulnerable to malware because of iOS, but this article offers some perspective on that with some recommendations on how to handle it.

2. Disconnect from the internet immediately.

This is to isolate your machine from infecting other devices and to cut off access to your machine from the hacker. This may help contain the malware infection.

If you are on a wired connection, unplug. If you are on a Wi-Fi connection, disconnect from the Wi-fi in settings.

3. Backup everything on your device.

It’s important to back up everything immediately so that you don't lose any of your files in the process. If you've been infected with ransomware, having a backup of your files will prevent the hacker from having the power to demand a ransom for you to get your files back. Also, the process of removing malware can cause data loss, so having a back up of your files ensures you have a copy of your files.

4. Scan your system for malware.

If you have anti-virus software on your device already, run it to scan your system. Follow the prompts to remove any suspicious files found.

If you don't have a tool for this already on the device, it's important NOT to connect to the internet to download one...you need to keep the device isolated and offline. You can download a malware scanning tool to a thumb drive using a different device and install it on the quarantined machine via the thumb drive.

Consider bringing your device to a professional if you aren't sure about how to run a malware scan.

We've listed some popular options for malware removal software below.

  • MalwareBytes (Free & Paid Options)
  • Avast (Free & Paid Options)
  • F-Secure (Free & Paid Options)
  • Kaspersky (Free & Paid Options)
  • AVG

Affiliate Disclosure: Some of these links to the paid services on this page are affiliate links which means, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Learn more here.

5. Change your login credentials.

Change your login credentials to different accounts and websites such as your email accounts, banking websites, and social media websites. It's a good idea to change your passwords periodically anyway (and to also use strong passwords), but this will help protect you if any of your logins were compromised.

6. Scan other devices that share the network.

7. Set up a fraud alert.

If you are concerned that your information was compromised, setting up a fraud alert can help prevent anyone from using your identity to open new accounts.