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Dont Get Caught By The Fish Trap

919 words - 4 pages

Do Not Get Caught in the Phish TrapWhat would you do if you received e-mail from your bank asking you to access its website and update your account information? The message looks authentic--it's even got the bank's logo. If you're smart, don't do it! In all likelihood, this seemingly innocent request is really from a cyber-thief looking to steal your personal--and valuable--financial information.This unscrupulous practice, known as phishing, is a high-tech way to lure you into revealing your bank accounts, passwords, credit card numbers, PIN codes and other sensitive data. Armed with this private information, your identity and then your money can be stolen.How It WorksPhishers target you by sending e-mail messages that appear legitimate from well-known companies such as PayPal, eBay, Citibank, and AOL. Take a look at this message:Even though it resembles a message that could have been sent from PayPal, including the e-mail header, there's one crucial difference: The link doesn't go to PayPal's site. It links to a phony site controlled by criminals. Look at the web address highlighted below. It spoofs PayPal's address, but in reality, it has nothing to do with it.Once you enter the requested information--these brazen thieves ask for everything from your credit card number to your driver's license and your mother's maiden name--they can access all yours accounts and rob you blind. The same scam can be used with any financial site, no matter how real it looks.According to the Anti-Phishing Working Group, up to 5% of recipients respond to these bogus messages.By the way, did you notice how the message claims that updating your account will help you avoid future problems? Sneaky, huh? And don't be fooled by the threat to terminate your account if you fail to reply by a certain date. This is just another way to trick you into responding quickly.Do Not Get Caught in the Phish TrapAvoid the Phish NetIn the real world, you wouldn't reveal private financial information to anyone who asks. Don't do it online either. Here's how to avoid becoming a victim:1. DO NOT respond to these e-mail requests. If you have questions, call the company and talk to a customer service representative. (Don't use the phone number in the e-mail--it too, could be fake.)2. Never transmit sensitive information in an e-mail.3. If you want to check or update your account information, do it by going directly to the company website. Type the website address into your web browser. Remember, DO NOT click on a link in an e-mail message or copy and paste it into your browser's address bar.4. Whenever you transmit sensitive data online, make sure the website is secure. Look for a closed lock icon on your web browser. Also, the...

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