February 10, 2011

Avoid a Phishing Scam Online


The act of sending email that falsely claims to be from a legitimate organization. This is usually combined with a threat or request for information: for example, that an account will close, a balance is due, or information is missing from an account. The email will ask the recipient to supply confidential information, such as bank account details, PINs or passwords; these details are then used by the owners of the website to conduct fraud.

Phishing is when a scam artist sends a message to trick you into providing your personal information. The scam artists then use that information to steal your identity and your money.

There are ways to protect yourself against phishing scams online that are easy and should be done by everyone.

  1. Contact your bank or credit card company if you receive an email that looks like it was sent by their company. The companies you deal with already have your personal information and will never request this information in an email.
  2. Type the address into you web browser instead of using cut and paste or using the reply to option from an email. You will then know for certain that you have contacted the correct business and not a scam artist. Phishing sites are made to look exactly like the site you would normally deal with.
  3. Update your security software frequently to avoid known phishing scams. Look for software that updates automatically on a frequent schedule.
  4. Avoid giving any personal information when answering an email. Never send a return email containing user names, passwords, credit card information, social security numbers, date of birth or any personal information. This information can be used against you and legitimate companies will not request it in an email.
  5. Show your children that use the internet any phishing scams that you receive. Use this as a training tool to protect them online.
Tips and Warnings!

Report all phishing attempts to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at
http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx, this is a division of the FBI that deals with Internet crimes.


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