Phishing is a fraudulent way of acquiring your personal information, whether it be your name & address, passwords, financial info, etc.
The most common method that phishers use to obtain your info is via email.
For example, you might receive an email that looks like it was sent from your bank. The email looks exactly like the type of email your bank would send (same logo, same style, same design), hence, making it easy to fool you. They might ask you to verify your information with the bank as part of a “security” process and ask you to click on a link. You are redirected to a site that looks just like that of your financial institution, after which you then input your personal details including password, not knowing that this was not the “actual” (official) website of your bank. You’ve just been phished! They now have access to your bank account.
There are other ways to obtain your personal info by fraudulent means in order to scam you. Email is just one of the common one.
Here are a few tips you can use to avoid phishing scams.
- Use an anti-virus, anti-spyware, or firewall program. It is in your best interest to update them on a regular basis. It would be pointless to have these programs installed on your computer if they are out-dated. Remember, scammers are savvy and you need to keep up with the latest threats.
- Do not download or click on a link sent to you via email just because the sender is someone you know. You might want to check with them first. I once received an email from my sister with a link that she recommended. The link led to a fraudulent site. In another instance, she supposedly sent me an email with an attachment of a funny picture she wanted me to look at. She did not actually send those emails. Luckily, my antivirus software prevented me from downloading because it detected a malicious file. Her laptop was infected with a program and it sent emails to her address book automatically (since it already knew her info). It stopped once I told her to update her antivirus/antispyware program and scan her computer.
- If you need to login to your online account with your financial institutions, it is best if you type in the URL yourself. Do not rely on links from emails you receive.
- Don’t reply to an email that asks for your personal information… even though this person claims you have a $1 million inheritance you need to claim.
Those are just a few suggestions to protect yourself from being scammed! Do not fall prey to these scammers!
If you have been scammed and would like to report it online, post the scam at ScamRadar.com