You’re not alone if you leave a bunch of tabs open while browsing the internet. Other than possibly making your computer run slower, these extra tabs might not seem like a huge deal. But think about how easy it is to leave important tabs unattended, such as credit card statements or online shopping websites. According to Better Business Bureau (BBB), this is exactly the type of situation that scammers are taking advantage of right now.
Meet tabnabbing: It’s the latest phishing scam on the rise. If you’re being targeted by a tabnabbing scam, an open tab of yours will mysteriously change its appearance to a different, yet somewhat familiar-looking page while you aren’t using it — and when you click back on the inactive tab, it may request your login credentials. Unfortunately, modern technology allows con artists to rewrite tabs and their contents even while a tab isn’t being used by the unsuspecting victim. This sneaky practice of rewriting tabs is what causes a fake page to load on the potential victim’s internet browser. Then comes the request for personal information from this new fake page.
Although tabnabbing has been around since at least 2010 — when Gmail was a victim of the phishing scam — it has become a far more advanced scheme over the past few years. These days, scammers are able to spoof just about any legitimate website’s login page, posing a danger to folks who don’t double-check their tabs after leaving them inactive for a while. This is particularly dangerous if you enter in your information on a phony website that is pretending to be your online bank account or credit card statment; it puts you at risk for loss of funds, charges on your cards, and even identity theft.
How to Avoid a Tabnabbing Scam
- Before entering any information on a tab you left open, take a close look at the page and confirm that it’s exactly the same as how you remember it — even if it’s for something silly such as a computer game.
- Always double-check the URL of any web page that you’re using to enter login information — especially if it involves particularly sensitive personal or financial details.
- Remember: The best habit to get into is to shut down any tab as soon as you’re done using it.