Phishing is a fraud method wherein you are deceived into providing your personal and financial information to a bogus website “masquerading” as a legitimate site. They usually utilize websites that are popular to a lot of people such as social networking sites, auction sites or sites that require your financial information. You are usually directed to a site where you are asked to reenter personal information you have previously entered when you originally registered such as your name, password and account or credit card number. This site however is a phishing site. Once they have access to your account, they will either use it for fraudulent transactions or use it for spamming. This scheme may be carried out through email, instant messages or a phone call.
While it is a sad fact that phishing scams are not easy to spot, there are still ‘signs’ you could watch out for.
Phishing emails or notifications usually appear to come from sites you regularly use like social network or auction sites such as ebay.
Some emails would provide you with a link (aside from the original site’s link) where you could re-enter your personal information. They would convince you to update your information so your account will not be suspended or expired.
Seeing the logo of a legitimate website does not guarantee that it is not a phishing site or that it is not linked to one.
If you are sent a link, check if the company name is spelled correctly. One fraud technique is using a website named almost exactly like the legitimate site itself. Or they may scramble one or two letters that you’ll most likely miss when you’re not looking at it closely.
It is hard to guard yourself against falling prey to scams on the internet. But you can protect yourself by keeping yourself informed about these things and you can protect your computer with an anti-spyware and anti-virus software.
Most of all, always remember not to give out your personal and financial information through email or instant messages.