What is phishing? Phishing is a type of deception designed to steal your identity. In a phishing scam, a malicious person tries to get information like credit card numbers, passwords, account information, or other personal information from you by convincing you to give it to them under false pretenses. Phishing schemes usually come via spam e-mail or pop-up windows.
How does phishing work? A phishing scam begins with a malicious user who sends out millions of fraudulent e-mail messages that appear to come from popular Web sites or from sites that you trust, like your bank or credit card company.
The e-mail messages, and the Web sites they often send you to, look official enough that they deceive many people into believing that they’re legitimate. Believing that these e-mails are legitimate, unsuspecting people too often respond to the e-mail’s requests for their credit card numbers, passwords, account information, or other personal information.
5 ways to help protect yourself from phishing
- Never respond to requests for personal information via e-mail or in a pop-up window. If in doubt, call the institution that claims to be the sender of the e-mail or pop-up window.
- Visit Web sites by typing the URL into your address bar.
- Check to make sure the Web site is using encryption.
- Routinely review your credit card and bank statements.
- Report suspected abuses of your personal information to the proper authorities. Although there may always be cyber-crime, taken intelligent and deliberate precautions could mean the difference between cyber-life and cyber-death.