Among the most common issues in online transactions is phishing which is one of the many examples of scam.
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 e-mail directs the user to visit a website where they are asked to update personal information, such as passwords and credit card, social security, and bank account numbers. The website, however, is bogus and set up only to steal the user’s information.
Here are a few things worth remembering when you receive suspicious e-mails:
1. Remember that no legitimate business will ever send an e-mail asking for sensitive personal or financial information. Treat any email asking for sensitive information as suspicious. Legitimate companies will never ask for your personal information via email.
2. Review credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them to check for unauthorized charges. If your statement is late by more than a couple of days, call your credit card company or bank to confirm your billing address and account balances.
3. Be wary of clicking on links in email messages. Go directly to the website, rather than clicking on the links. Phishing are usually links contained in email messages. When clicked, these links often take you directly to a phony site where you could unwittingly input your personal or financial information.
4. Notify the company from whom the e-mail appears to be from about the suspicious e-mail. Many companies do want to know if their company name is being used to try and scam people. Some companies include scam and spoof reporting links within their official websites.
5. Be cautious about opening any attachment or downloading files from emails you receive, regardless of who sent them. These files may contain viruses or other software that can weaken your computer’s security.
6. Do not enter personal or financial information into pop-up windows it is a common technique of phishing to launch a fake pop-up window when someone clicks on a link in a phishing email message. To make the pop-up window more convincing, it will be displayed in a window you trust. In any case, do not input personal or financial information into pop-up windows. Close these immediately by clicking on the X button on the upper right hand corner.
7. Always check for the security certificate whenever entering sensitive information on a web site. You can check security certificates using an icon that looks like a yellow padlock. This icon is typically located at the lower right side of the status bar of your Internet Explorer, or at the right side of your address bar. If the lock is closed, this signifies that the web site is using encryption to protect you when you enter sensitive information onto the web site.
This symbol may only be present when the website is requesting for your information. Unfortunately, even this lock icon may be fake. To increase your safety, double-click on the lock icon to display the security certificate of the site. The name following issued to should indicate the name of the website. Otherwise, it is a fake or spoofed web site.
8. Type URL addresses directly into your browser or use your personal bookmark. If you need to update account information or your password, type the URL address directly in the URL address box.
Let us be proactive in raising awareness about these malicious scams. Greater awareness leads to less victims of phishing and other internet scam.
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