Phishing fraud and how to stop it
Unlike spam, phishing is a crime. Phishing attacks aim to steal information – and possibly more – from their victims.
What is phishing?
Phishing is a type of internet fraud that attempts to obtain your personal information by deception.
Phishing fraud is usually used to steal money from its victims but sometimes phishing attacks spread computer viruses too.
Phishing and privacy protection
Phishing threatens your internet security privacy when a criminal sends a phishing e-mail pretending to be from a credible institution, such as a bank like HSBC, LloydsTSB, Barclays or Natwest, a social networking website like Facebook or MySpace, a parcel delivery company like Federal Express or TNT, or an online market place such as Paypal, eBay or Amazon.
In one common phishing scenario, when the user clicks on the link in the spam e-mail, they are directed to a fake website and are then asked to reveal personal information which may result in phishing identity theft.
Often, phishing criminals ask users to fill in a form on the same page as the e-mail itself.
Phishing includes theft of passwords, credit card numbers, bank account details and other confidential information.
Phishing and viruses
Phishing links in spam e-mails may also lead to spyware, key-logger or Trojan programs being installed on your computer.
So even if you don’t reveal your personal details because of a phishing e-mail, your computer isn’t necessarily safe from phishing.
You can safeguard your internet security privacy if you use an anti phishing tool in an internet security program – coupled, of course, with common sense.
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Once you have installed an internet security program, use common sense when you get a phishing e-mail:
- Only give personal information if you have verified it on the phone
- Never respond to an e-mail asking for personal information
- Report any suspicious activity to your bank immediately
- Don’t use links in an e-mail (instead, type the URL into your browser)