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Lessons and stories from the front lines of fighting identity theft.


Catch and Release

Apr 15

Tips to Avoiding Phishing Scams

Phishing involves a criminal or criminal organization sending fraudulent emails disguised to look like they came from a bank, financial institution, or another reputable organization. Usually, the email will require the recipient to click on a link or update personal information. These links can lead to sites that install malware and keystroke loggers, capturing people’s visited sites and passwords. Many individuals fall victim to this kind of identity theft. 

So how do you “catch” a phishing scam and what do you do to “release” it so you don’t become a fraudster’s next victim?  Phishing scams take several forms and these are the ones to keep an eye out for and catch.

1. Spear Phishing:   This kind of email phishing scam mimics companies you regularly do business with or mimics friends you network with online. The email received will look as though it is legitimate but is intended to lure you into providing some piece of information about yourself.

2. Phone Phishing Scams:Email phishing scams can lead you into making an emergency phone call to your credit/banking institution to fix an account problem.  However, the phone phishing scam connects you to a fraudster or fake automated system that will take your account number, PIN and passwords.

3. Logo Phishing:  This email phishing scam will have an accurate company logo and corporate colors.  These are copied from legitimate business websites without their knowledge or permission and will include highly convincing details about your personal circumstances which fraudsters cleverly lift from social networks.

If you happen to catch one of these phishing scams, here’s some simple advice that can help you to release these scams and from becoming an identity theft victim.

1. Watch out for “phishy” emails.  If it looks phishy delete it.

2. Don’t click on links within emails that ask for your personal information.

3. Protect your computer with spam filters, anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a firewall, and keep them up to date.

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