Phishing is the definition given to e-mail fraud where the perpetrator sends out legitimate-looking e-mails that appear to come from well-known and trustworthy websites such as PayPal, eBay, MSN, Yahoo and many more.
Through phishing, individuals can attempt to gather personal and financial information from the recipient such as passwords, credit card and bank account numbers which can then be used for identity theft.
The e-mail directs the user to visit a Web site where they are asked to update personal information, which the legitimate organisation already has.
The website, however, is an imitation of the real website and is set up only to steal the user’s information.
How to protect yourself from Phishing:
If you receive an unexpected email which says something like your account will be shut down unless you can confirm your billing information, DO NOT reply or click on links in the email – delete it. Similarly if you see a pop-up with this request close or ignore it.
When submitting financial information through a website check the following points:
- Ensure you can see the “padlock” icon in the browser’s status bar
- The website address starts with https:// (normal website start with http://). The extra “s” means you are on a secure connection within the website.
Remember, legitimate companies will never ask for personal or confidential information in this way. If in doubt, contact the company directly and ask them for further information.