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An Introduction To Phishing Scams

Apr 13, 2008
If you frequently surf the net, purchase products or services over the net or use any of the numerous financial services readily available by your credit card company, Paypal, Bank and/or eBay, then you should be aware of Phishing scams and how they can affect you.

Phishing scams are when criminals or hackers mask themselves as legitimate companies in order to steal sensitive information from people such as, social security numbers, credit card numbers etc to commit fraud. Phishing scams are very common on the internet and can affect literally anyone. Here I will present to you some tips that you can deploy to easily spot Phishing scams and what to do if you feel your personal information has been compromised.

How to spot those Phishing scams

A vast majority of Phishing scams come via email. Emails are sent out to millions of people stating to be from a legitimate organizations such as American Express, eBay, Paypal, Barclays Bank etc. The emails themselves looking pretty convincing (in most cases it's usually an exact copy of the official emails sent to clients). Within these emails it'll usually state that your account details are not up to date and not updating your information could jeopardise the normal functionality of your account. It will usually specify a hyperlink to click on to update your account details which will usually ask for your full name, address, social security and account number. Once you've given all your personal information to this website, the criminal/hacker organisation can now use your information to make purchases online using your credit card information, apply for loans under your name and literally steal money from your personal bank account.

Three vital ways you can spot Phishing scams is to make sure that the email you receive is actually addressed to you. Inside the email itself, it should state your full name etc. If it says something such as 'Dear Customer' or 'Dear Member', it is most likely a Phishing scam. Secondly the email address that you received the message from should be one that you have personally given to the company. If you have ten email addresses and use only one of them for finance related activities, any emails you receive from the other email address are most likely Phishing scams. Lastly, the vast majority (if not all) financial companies will never ask for your personal information or any other sensitive affix through an email. Emails are not privacy protected and legitimate companies will not want to harm their clients in such a way.

An Easy Way to Eliminate Phishing scams

Whether you believe an email is legitimate or not, never click on any hyperlinks contained within the email, instead, open up a new browser window and manually type the companies web address to log-in to the company. If your account needs any sort of updating, then it should state it. In most cases your company will send you a letter in the mail or phone you directly if there's some kind of issue with your account(s). But even over the phone, it is important to make sure that you're actually speaking to a representative of the company before giving out any personal information. They should have the information and thus shouldn't have to ask you for it.
About the Author
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is an internet marketing advisor. If you're seeking more information from me then check out my website which is: Free Affiliate Programs Alternatively you can visit: My Web Search
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