What is Phishing?

No, we didn’t misspell it. Phishing is the name given to the latest online scam where millions of unwary users are getting their identities stolen. Phishers create bogus e-mails that look as if they came from large, well-known institutions and banks, such as eBay, Paypal, Citibank, EarthLink, and Wells Fargo among others.

These e-mails claim that you are due for an account update, or that the account number, password, social security number or other confidential information needs to be verified. Then they warn you, stating that if you do not do it within a certain period of time, that your account will be closed, terminated, the service discontinued, or something to that effect.

They even provide you with links to websites that look legitimate, because they hijack the real logos of these well known banks, and trusted institutions and companies. And that is the scary part… these e-mails look 100%
legitimate, but they are not.

Do not respond to any e-mail that asks for personal information from you, such as account number, credit card number, user names, passwords, etc. If you suspect that the
e-mail, indeed, be legitimate, contact your bank or institution to verify this.

When in doubt, visit the Anti-Phishing Working Group for an update of the latest scams, and tips to avoid becoming a victim. The website’s URL is www.antiphishing.org

If you suspect you’ve been a victim of this fraud, get a copy of your credit report immediately to check for unusual activity. If you discover that you’ve been a victim
of identity theft, close your account at once and…
– Call the Credit Bureau.
– File a police report.
– Call the FTC ID theft hotline at (877)IDTHEFT.
– Alert other financial institutions where you have accounts.