Drawing of Hand Coming Out of Computer to Steal MoneyWhat is Phishing?

For those of us who are not familiar with the term “Phishing” it means that someone is trying to obtain financial or other personal information from internet users, usually by sending out an email that impersonates a legitimate organization, typically a bank, but the link in the email is to a fake web site that is impersonating the real one. Some of the more popular businesses that are being impersonated are Chase, PayPal (big one), eBay, and amazon, just to name a few.


Phishing Emails

Phishing emails is a worsening problem and it’s affecting more people everyday. Our inbox’ are filling up everyday with these ridiculous emails stating that we need to confirm our personal information in order for our accounts or service to stay active and not be suspended.

When receiving one of these phishing emails, do not click on the link provided within. Always open another tab or window and actually type in the business’ website and log in from there. Usually there will be an alert message letting you know you have a message in your inbox. If there is no message pertaining to the email you received in your regular email account disregard it immediately.

Here’s an Example: You may receive a PayPal email asking you to update your account, with a link saying ‘click here to verify your account’. This email is sent from someone who looks like they work for PayPal, but in reality they have just formatted the email to look like your PayPal messages.





Phishing emails are generated

According to Microsoft Safety & Security Center, new phishing scams are being generated whenever a newsworthy event takes place, a natural disaster, a national election or a significant change in the world financial system. They are being sent in the form of e-cards, fake job opportunities, donation scams, and through social networks. A big one last year was targeted to universities, they were supposedly sending emails out from the administration to whole student body requesting they confirm their passwords.

According to Dave Teare’s blog, co-founder of Agile Web Solutions, phishing attacks can be prevented in many ways, but the most common and effective methods goes as follow:


1. Filter your messages

When filtering your email for spam,  many phishing messages will be prevented from getting to your inbox. Currently Google provides one of the best spam filters available in GMail. For example:

2. Detect the scam

The most obvious clue to detect a scam is when you receive an email from a company you do not conduct business with. Be suspicious of any emails starting with a generic opening like “Dear Sir/Madam”. For example:










3. Use available tools

Use the automatic form filter. This will save you loads of time, and they are the most effective tool in avoiding phishing attacks. This tool works by having the auto fill program be responsible for logging you into your websites. Remember, the auto fill program is smart enough to only fill out the forms from the sites whose domain matches the domain you originally saved it on.


How to avoid Phishing scams

The Anti-Phishing Working Group has complied a list of recommendations below that you can use to avoid becoming a victim of these scams.

1. Always be suspicious of any email with urgent requests for personal financial information

– Unless the email is digitally signed, you can’t be sure it wasn’t forged or ‘spoofed’

– Phishers typically include upsetting or exciting (but false) statements in their emails to get people to react immediately

– They typically ask for information such as usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers, date of birth, etc.

– Phisher emails are typically NOT personalized, although they can be. Valid messages form your bank or e-commerce company generally are personalized, but always call to check if you are unsure.

2. Don’t use the links in an email, instant message, or chat to get to any web page if you suspect the  message might not be authentic or you don’t know the sender or user’s handle

– Instead, call the company on the telephone, or log onto the website directly by typing in the web address in your browser

2. Avoid filling out forms in email messages that ask for personal financial information

– You should only communicate information such as credit card numbers or account information via a secure website or the telephone

3. Always ensure that you’re using a secure website when submitting credit card or other sensitive information via your Web browser

– Phishers are now able to ‘spoof’, or forge Both the “https://” that you would normally see when you’re on a secure Web server and a legitimate-looking address. You may even see both in the link of a scam email. Again, make it a habit to enter the address of any banking, shopping, auction, to financial transaction website yourself and not depend on the displayed links.

4. Always check where the URL ID is coming from. Remember not all scam sites will try to show the “https://” and/or the security lock. Get in the habit of looking at the address line, too. Were you directed to PayPal? Does the address line display something different like “http://www.gotyouscammed.com/paypal/login/htm?” Be aware of where you are going.

5. Consider installing a Web browser tool bar to help prevent you from known fraudulent websites. Theses toolbars match where you are going with lists of known phisher web sites and will alert you.

– The newer version of Internet Explorer version 7 includes this tool bar as does Firefox version 2.

– EarthLink Scam blocker is part of a browser toolbar that is free to al internet users – download at http://www.earthlink.net/earthlinktoolbar

6. Regularly log into your online accounts

– Don’t leave it for as long as a month before you check each account.

7. Regularly check your bank, credit and debit card statements to ensure that all transactions are legitimate.

– If anything is suspicious or you don’t recognize the transaction, contact your bank and all card issuers.

8. Ensure that your browser is up to date and security patches are applied.

9. Always report “phishing” or “spoofed” emails to the following groups:

– File a complaint at Scambook

– Forward the email to [email protected]

– Forward the email to the Federal Trade Commission at [email protected]

– Forward the email to the “abuse” email address at the company that is being spoofed (e.g. “[email protected]”)

– When forwarding spoofed messages, always include the entire original email with its original header information intact

– Notify The Internet Crime Complaint Center of the FBI by filing a complaint in their website: www.ic3.gov/

Remember, no reputable business would send you an email requesting your personal information. Any emails you may receive asking for this type of information should be considered phony and brought to the attention of the business being phished.


See More

New Phishing Fraud: Unclaimed Property Email Scam Targets Missouri
Google Docs Phishing Scam Could Steal Your Email Info
New Phishing Email Claims to be US Federal Reserve

About The Author

Scambook is an online complaint resolution platform dedicated to obtaining justice for victims of fraud with unprecedented speed and accuracy. By building communities and providing resources on the latest scams, Scambook arms consumers with the up-to-date information they need to stay on top of emerging schemes. Since its inception, Scambook has resolved over $10 million in reported consumer damages.

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5 Responses

  1. marijayne clark

    what should i do if i get a call from a strange number telling me that i won a cruise to bahamas and they got all my info plus asked if i had a credit card and told them yes?

  2. marijayne clark

    they asked me 10 questions and i answered them they got my full name,gender,zip code,cell phone number and credit card but not the number?..is there a way they will use my card??

  3. Annette

    They got as far as my name and a false address with me, before I hung up.

  4. Annette

    marijayne if you didnt give them your credit card number then one would assume they cannot use it.

  5. Theresa A Bostic

    This guy told me to go to this website because there was to many people that could see allot and it’s more private. He tried to scam me out of money being put through a bank account he had me open for him but put in my name which by time the bank found out it was bad money they already got the good money and then I would had to pay every penny back. I thought I was talking to a respectiable man because he was a public figure he has been on the news . I lost my dignity over this because it has been since march 7th we have been talking. I just lost my boyfriend to death and was looking for love thought I found it. They have all my information everything to where I live. etc.
    the guy used the name Brigadair General Herbert Mcmaster.


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