Have you been a victim of this identity theft scheme? Hopefully you are aware of this tactic, but even if you are, it is quite easy to be fooled by them. Phishing emails appear to come from your bank or other business where you have an account.
According to Webopedia, phishing is the “act of sending an e-mail to a user falsely claiming to be an established legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft.”
The email looks like it really came from the site in the ‘From’ field. Many times there is a warning or threat that if you do not comply your account will be closed or you will have a penalty applied. The email contains a link that you are asked to click on to verify information or restate your password or some other personal information. It is this link that takes you to the ‘spoof’ website. It also looks real, but is not.
So how can you tell if it is a fake email? Chances are you cannot tell. The URL looks right, the logos and banners are correct (both are copied from a real email or the website). Your key should be that there is a link inside the email that directs to click on it to be redirected to the company site. It may even tell you the URL of the site it is going to take you to. Don’t believe it. Anytime you get an email from a business that you believe to be fake, you should always hover your mouse over the link, then ‘right click’ the link with the mouse and select ‘view source.’ If the link is indeed fake, the website address that comes up will be something other than that of the company you think it should be.
Any time you are asked for personal information, make sure you actually go to the website of that company by typing it in the URL address window yourself – don’t click a hyperlink or even cut and paste from an email.
The latest phishing scam is called spear phishing. This is even more ‘pointed’ in that is appears to come from an actual person who works for the business, perhaps in HR or collections, or technical support asking for you to update your password.
So what do you do if you receive an email you think is spam? Your best course is to just delete it. Don’t let your curiosity get the better of you – make sure you delete it and be thankful you avoided a potentially harmful experince.
We all know that criminals are out there, waiting to steal our credit card information. These very criminals want credit card information so they can run up the charges then leave you with a huge bill and nothing to show for it – except damaged credit.