Who is Phishing for Your Information?

ID 100178320

There's a new type of internet piracy called phishing (pronounced fishing). Internet thieves are fishing for your personal information. They're looking for ways to trick you into giving out your Social Security Number, credit card number and other personal information that they can use to their advantage. You could become a victim of identity theft that could take years to clear your financial history and personal reputation. But understanding how these internet thieves work, will help you to protect yourself from becoming a victim.

How do these thieves get your information?
Typically, you might receive an email from a company that you are familiar with that looks real. It has the company logo, they may call you by name, and the tone of the email is that they are looking out for your best interests. This email will warn you of some imminent danger to your account or credit card and that you need to take action immediately or you will suffer dire consequences. There will be a link (underlined writing usually in blue) for you to click on that will take you to their website. And guess what? The website they take you to will look like the real thing with the company logo and all.

Next, you will be asked to verifyí your account, password, or credit card information. If you ever find yourself here, STOP! Do nothing. Do not fill in any personal information. Immediately exit from this website and delete the phony email that you received.

How to know that this is a phishingí email.
If you did not email this company asking for information about your account or for help with a problem, be suspicious. If you are still not sure because it looks so real, call the company yourself and ask. You can find these phone numbers on your monthly statement. If it is after hours and no one is there to take your call, wait until the next day when you can reach someone. Don't fall for the imminent danger message and feel that you have to take action immediately. Phishers are hoping that you will take immediate action and don't panic and let them trick you into clicking on their link.

What can you do?
Never give someone your password over the internet or phone when it is an unsolicited request. Your credit card company knows what your password and credit card number is. They don't need to ask you for it. Likewise, your bank knows what your account number and social security number, they won't ask you to repeat it verbally over the phone.

Review all of your monthly statements every month as soon as they arrive. Check for charges that you never made.

Image Courtesy of photoraidz / FreeDigitalPhotos.net