Phishing is a deceptive act in which unsavory individuals try to obtain your personal information, such as passwords and financial information. Phishing attacks usually come in the form of an email pretending to be from an official site, such as your bank, but instead lead to a fake website that looks very much like the real one.
Identity theft has been around for a long time and phishing is one of the more modern methods used to steal your information. The last couple of years have seen an increase in phishing attempts, and browser providers and SSL certificate providers are stepping up to bring solutions to people.
Web browsers and Google are empowering users to determine if a site is bad or not, and may generate warning messages, malware alerts, and more.
Here are some tips that can help you protect yourself online.
- Most legitimate institutions will never request your personal information, especially via email. Any unsolicited email, phone call, or mail that does is probably a phishing scam.
- Visit a website by typing it in the URL instead of clicking a link in an email. Although the link may look legitimate, phishers use all sorts of tricks to hide where it’s really going.
- Check your credit card and bank statements regularly for fraud.
- Report a phishing scam to the real organization. Most banks, social media sites, and other institutions usually have an email address online to report scams, spam, or any other unethical behavior.
Phishing websites can look very much like the real sites in the hopes of luring unsuspecting people to enter important information such as their social security number, bank pin number, or credit card number. It’s ok to be leery.