Menu Search Hoax-Slayer

Phishing Scams - Anti-Phishing Information

Phishing is one of the most prevalent of all Internet scams. At any one time, a large number of major financial institutions and online entities around the world will be the target of phishing scammers. Some high profile institutions such as Citibank and PayPal are targeted almost continually. Phishing scams attempt to trick people into providing sensitive personal information such as credit card or banking details.

List of Articles about Phishing Scams

How Phishing Scams Work

Phishing scams attempt to trick people into providing sensitive personal information such as credit card or banking details. In order to carry out this trick, the phishing scammers send a fraudulent email disguised as an official request for information from the targeted company. Generally, they also create a "look-a-like" website that is designed to closely resemble the target company's official site.

The fake website may appear almost identical to the official site. Style, logos, images, navigation menus and other structural components may look the same as they do on the genuine website.

Recipients of the scam email are requested to click on an included hyperlink. Clicking this link will cause the fake website to open in the user's browser. Once at this fake website, the user may be presented with a web form that requests private information such as credit card and banking details, and other account data such as a home address and phone number. Often, the visitor is requested to login using his or her username and password. All information entered into this fake website, including login details, can subsequently be collected and used at will by the criminals operating the scam.

A variation of the scam involves using an embedded form within the bogus email itself. Victims are instructed to enter details such as a password and bank account number into the form provided and return the email to the sender. Another variation attempts to trick recipients into installing a trojan on their computer, either by opening an email attachment or downloading the trojan from a website. The scammers can then use the trojan to collect information from the infected computer. The scam emails are randomly mass-mailed to many thousands of Internet users in the hope of netting just a small number of victims. The majority of people who receive these scam emails will probably not even be customers of the targeted institution. However, the scammers rely on the statistical probability that at least a few recipients will:

1. Have accounts with the targeted institution.
2. Will be unaware of such scams and believe the email to be a legitimate request.

The scam can prove to be a lucrative exercise for the scammers even if only a very small percentage of recipients ultimately become victims.

How Scammers use Information Harvested from Phishing Scams

Scammers are able to use information stolen from victims in a variety of ways. They may:

Common Characteristics of Phishing Scam Emails

What to do if you Receive a Suspected Phishing Scam

If you need more information about a suspected phishing scam, visit the legitimate website of the targeted institution or contact the institution directly. The institution's website may provide current information about the scam email you received.

What to do if you Have Already Been Tricked into Submitted Information

If you have already submitted information to scammers as a result of a phishing scam, you need to contact the targeted institution for advice immediately. It is imperative that you act quickly to protect the account that has been compromised in the phishing attack.

You should also take steps to protect yourself from identity theft. To learn more about identity theft, click the link below:

More information about Identity Theft

How to Avoid Becoming a Victim of a Phishing Scam

Reporting Phishing Scams

Most entities targeted by phishing scammers will include information on their website about how to report fraud attempts. Look in the security or privacy section of the entity's website or search for "phishing" on the site's internal search engine if it has one. Often the site will provide an email address that you can use to forward phishing scam messages to the entity for analysis.

Help Combat Phishing Scammers

Generally speaking, people become victims of phishing scams simply because they do not know how such scams operate. You can help by ensuring that friends and colleagues are aware of such scams and what to do about them. You might like to point them to this web page or another resource that provides information about phishing. The power of such "word-of-mouth" education is substantial. You CAN make a difference by sharing your knowledge of phishing scams with other Internet users.

You can also help by reporting phishing scams (see above). Your submissions help to increase awareness of phishing scams and allow anti-phishing websites and targeted institutions to maintain up-to-date information about current phishing threats.

© Brett M.Christensen, 2014. All Rights Reserved.

Go to Desktop Version