Internet Phishing...


Phishing - 5 Tips To Protect Yourself!


What is phishing?

Phishing is a type of deception designed to steal your identity. In a phishing scam, a malicious person tries to get information like credit card numbers, passwords, account information, or other personal information from you by convincing you to give it to them under false pretences. Phishing schemes usually come via spam e-mail or pop-up windows.

How does phishing work?

A phishing scam begins with a malicious user who sends out millions of fraudulent e-mail messages that appear to come from popular Web sites or from sites that you trust, like your bank or credit card company. The e-mail messages, and the Web sites they often send you to, look official enough that they deceive many people into believing that they're legitimate. Believing that these e-mails are legitimate, unsuspecting people too often respond to the e-mail's requests for their credit card numbers, passwords, account information, or other personal information.

A scam artist might put a link in a fake e-mail that appears to go to the legitimate Web site, but actually takes you to a scam site or even a pop-up window that looks exactly like the official site. These copies are often called spoofed Web sites. Once you're at one of these spoofed sites or pop-up windows you might unwittingly enter even more personal information that will be transmitted directly to the person who created the spoofed site. That person can then use this information to purchase goods, apply for a new credit card, or steal your identity.

5 ways to help protect yourself from phishing

Just as they do in the physical world, scam artists will continue to develop new and more sinister ways to trick you online. But following these five steps can help you protect your personal information.

Never reply to the email.
If the message includes a link within it, never click it. Many schemers use this as way to spread a viral attack on your computer. 

Do not give personal or financial information to anyone who contacts you via email.
Even if they claim they are from your bank, the IRS or a law enforcement agency, these businesses will not contact you via email; they will send you a letter.

Spread the word.
Discuss phishing scams with all the members of your family who have email addresses. Young people are very computer savvy, but may not be scam savvy, and older adults are specifically targeted by scammers because they are often very trusting.

Transmitted information should be encrypted.
When sending personal information like addresses, credit card numbers and Social Security numbers over the Internet, make sure the website is fully encrypted and the network is secure. Look for https (the s stands for secure) at the beginning of the URL address to confirm its security.

Know the red flags.
Watch out for grammatical mistakes in emails. Poor grammar or misspelled words are red flags that the email is probably a scam. Most importantly, never wire money based on instructions in one of these suspicious emails. Scammers prey on those who think they need to wire money to have a situation resolved. Protect your computer. Keep your anti-virus software up-to-date and run it regularly.