Phishing scams are one of the most common forms of cybercrime. While phishing is a widespread activity, it can be beaten. Apart from installing security software, a person can also combat this common scam by learning what it looks like.
What is Phishing?
Phishing (pronounced “fishing”) is a type of identity theft that has grown in popularity with hackers. They use false emails and fraudulent websites to attempt to steal a person’s personal information, including their credit card information and passwords.
The criminals are able to gain access to this information by sending a link in an email that appears to be from a site you trust, such as a social network or bank. Then they are able to steal the data you enter as you attempt to login or enter information. Some of the sites more commonly spoofed are eBay, MSN, PayPal, and Yahoo! as well as many financial institutions. So, do not believe that an email is safe because it may not be from your bank.
How to Protect Yourself Against Phishing
Be wary of any email that requests personal information, especially if the information needed is of a financial nature. A legitimate business or organization would not request sensitive information in an email and banks do not ask for your information unless you contact them.
Do not feel pressured to provide information based on an email. Phishers commonly use scare tactics. They may threaten to close or disable an account if you don’t respond or delay a service without certain information. If you receive a threatening email, contact the merchant directly by typing in their link to confirm the authenticity of the email.
Many of the spam messages you receive every day, as well as many of the phishing emails, are coming to you because a site you have signed up for sold your email address to another company. If you don’t want your email shared, you need to be careful about which companies you sign up with.
You should also look out for emails requesting information that only provide generic information. Most banks and financial institutions provide identifying information which may include a reference to the account you have with them. Fraudulent emails are not personalized and often begin with “Dear Sir/Madam”, and may be from a bank that you don’t currently have an account with.
Never enter your information into forms embedded within an email. The senders can track the information you enter and use it to steal your identity.
Use software alongside common sense. If something looks fishy then be very cautious and don’t go along with it. Identity theft is one of the biggest criminal issues for most of us nowadays – beware. Investing in identity theft software may be a good idea – check out this review of PrivacyGuard.
Never click links in an email to connect to a website, unless you’re sure the email is authentic. Instead, open a new browser window and type in the URL. Often phishing email links lead to a website that looks identical to the real website, but if you look in the website bar, you’ll see that the URL is different.
Republished by Blog Post Promoter