‘Phishing’ is one of the most dangerous forms of email scam to hit the scene over recent years and it’s just as worrying that there are people who are still drawn in and finishing up a result of internet crime.
Phishing is basically someone copying a companies website structure and sending you an email saying there’s something wrong with your account and you need to re-fill your personal details at the linked address.
The linked address is not the actual company they are purporting to be and they are ‘fishing’ for your details such as credit card and bank account numbers etc.
Basically – identity theft.
These emails are often a bit easier to spot, the same ‘phishing software’ will be used for various Banks, Building Societies and you’ll get the same email for a number of banks which you don’t have an account with, which obviously rings the alarms better.
Ebay and Paypal are used a lot. The emails will be sent out randomly and they’ve got your ebay username from the main site.
The main thing is that, how often would a Bank or a company such as ebay ‘lose’ all your details overnight? or have you ever read an instruction from them saying that the information expires after a while, so you have to re-submit at sometime?
The answer is never!
If you are in doubt, ring the Bank or ebay and ask them or forward the email onto them and they will get back to you.
When someone copies a Banks identity (by using official language and logos), the website and email address they are using for the purpose will probably only be kept for a few days and it’s this which is the stumbling block for various departments to actually catch the people.
Here are some tips for identifying them.
1. The Sender – Anyone can change their ‘from’ in an email programme. All you have to do is open a ‘new account’ in email programmes and it’s done – so ‘from Example Bank Inc’ could be anyone.
2. Look for bad grammar and spelling mistakes.
3. Urgency – Saying your account will be closed unless you reply in XX days etc. If it were that urgent and it’s your bank, they’d phone or write to you.
4. Account Status – ie, with ebay, they will state that unless you re-submit your personal details, you won’t be able to buy or sell.
5. Links in email – Mouse over and see. They will not be quite the same as bone fide links.
The thing is not to even entertain opening the links, nor even expand the email – just put it straight into the deleted items. If necessary forward it onto your actual Bank and ask them to confirm by phone that it is legitimate.etc.
If you have an anti-spam programme and you are pretty sure it’s a phishing scam – mark it as ‘spam’ and it won’t get in your inbox again.
The internet is a great provider of information and knowledge to people, but like anything else, it can be abused quite easily.
Make sure we aren’t!!