FAQ - Phishing - What is it?

Problem:

What is phishing? How does it work? How do I protect myself against it?

Solution:

Phishing (fishing) uses social engineering in an attempt to get you to hand over your identity and financial information to crooks. These criminals intend to spend your money and run up bills in your name.

How do they get your financial information? Phishers attempt to aquire your financial information by sending out 'bait' and hope you 'bite'. They 'hook' you and reel in your financial information.

How is the bait presented? It usually arrives in an email with subject lines and content like the following:

The email then tells you to click on a link which takes you to a 'harvesting' site mocked up to look like the official business, whether it's EBay, Wells Fargo, Citibank, etc.

If you look at the URL, you will see that it's not the real one. Phishering websites can be obvious or slick. It isn't always obvious that you aren't looking at the real business site. When in doubt, call the business directly using a different contact number rather than the one provided in the email.

So, how do you protect yourself from these scams? Educate yourself. Please visit the Anti-Phishing Working Group Archive - http://www.antiphishing.org for a listing of known phishing cons currently circulating.

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Category: Viruses and Security     Platform: Not Applicable
Document #: 831     Author: Cynthia Senicka    
Last Modified by: Joshua Moor on 06/11/2008