Are You a Victim of Phishing?

Phishing Can Lead to Identity Theft

If you’ve ever received an email asking you for personal information or leading you to a website that requests your personal information, you very well may have been a victim of a phishing scam. Don’t know what phishing is. Read on. It’s vital that you know.

What’s Phishing?

Let’s compare phishing to a game -- a very serious “game”. The person playing the game is a criminal -- someone with no scruples or integrity. The goal of the game is to get your personal information.

So the criminal sends you an email saying that they’re from the security department of your bank and you need to reply to the email with some personal information or your account will be closed. Of course you don’t want your account to be closed so you reply to the email with the requested information.

The only problem is, that information isn’t being sent to your bank, it’s being sent to the criminal so he or she can access your account or worse yet, steal your identity. You’ve just been the victim of a phishing scam.

Phishing is Fishing

The easiest way to understand phishing is to think of it like fishing. A fisherman fishes for fish. A phisherman phishes for your personal information and your bank information for criminal reasons. If they get this information, it’s oftentimes for sale to the highest bidder or they use it themselves to steal your identity and/or your money.

How to Avoid It

The best way to avoid becoming the victim of phishing is to delete any emails that ask for a reply with personal information. Banks are well aware of phishing scams and they will never send you an email requesting sensitive, confidential information.

If you receive an email that directs you towards a link, don’t follow the link. Type the URL of the website you know directly into your web browser and if the information is actually required at that site, then make sure you’re submitting it via a secure server.

Make sure you delete any phishing emails you receive, as you don’t want to inadvertently return to them later. You may also want to forward a copy of the email to the institution that the email was supposedly from, just so they can look into the situation and hopefully shut down the phishing scam.

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