Phishing,email fraud,email scams,and identity theft. All of these are as pervasive as ever and your privacy is at risk. Perhaps worse so is your bank account. When phishing (pretending to be someone you are doing business with in an effort to get you to part with sensitive financial information) first came out the e-mails were pretty easy to spot. Typically they would do a half decent job on the graphics so that at first glance one of their emails would seem to come from your bank. A more thorough scrutinization would reveal the fact that there were misspellings that a bank would never let go out in an email. A security expert would realize that the headers had been forged and that the email had not in fact originated with the bank but the average user would have a hard time telling.
Today many of the scammers have fixed their spelling and their grammar. However it doesn’t matter,there is still an easy way to avoid falling for their scam. You don’t need special expensive software. You don’t need to read a 500 page guide on internet security. You just need to remember a couple of things. Banks will never email you saying that for security reasons they need you to provide your account number. This is the first important thing to remember. Occasionally a company like PayPal may restrict an account and require verification to reactivate it.
If that happens NEVER reply to an email or follow a link in that email. Open a new browser and carefully type in their site name and use the email forms or chat forms on their site to contact them.
NEVER respond to a phone number in an email. Always look up the phone number in a directory whether it be an on-line directory, or a book.
By following these two rules you make yourself immune to almost every phishing scheme out there.
Your personal information should be guarded as carefully as your bank account and credit card information. Identity theft is a billion dollar industry. Avoid giving your social security number to people and web sites that don’t absolutely need it. There are many sites on the web that ask for your birth date. Unless it is a site where you would be committing overt fraud if you provide the wrong date, I recommend you alter it slightly. There are lots of sites that have a valid reason for knowing your approximate age, but they really don’t usually need your exact date of birth. So change it a little, that way if it falls into the wrong hands, it will be one less piece of information that they can use to steal your identity.
Resist the temptation to play mind games with professional criminals who are out there to steal your identity and credit card information. These are not isolated teenage hackers they are room fulls of criminals who are out to make a living by stealing information. Avoid getting involved with them. Lastly avoid letting vendors store your credit card numbers in their system for future use. That way if their security is violated your credit card number won’t be in their database. For even more security use a credit card that lets you generate a one time virtual card number for online use.
For More Phishing Information, read our articles below:
Special Report : Top Ten Ways to Protect Your Online Privacy
The CHW’s most recent article on : Phishing, eMail Fraud & Scams
Think IT Won’t Happen To You? Identity Theft
Learn IT, DO IT, Teach IT, Share IT, BE IT
Your CyberHood Watch Partner
Radio Security Journalist
© 2006 – 2011 CyberHood Watch®