Phishing and Email Scams
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Safety Tips to Keep You Safe From Phishing
Definition of Phishing An email that is intended to deceive you into thinking that it requesting information from a legitimate company when in fact it is designed to get you to send information to identity thieves.
Phishing scams are on the rise and arrive regularly in your email inbox.
Tips to Protect Yourself from Phishing Scams
- Phishing Email Asks For Too Much Information
No one will ever ask you for your password, social security number or credit card information in an email. It is not safe to send this kind of information in an email because it is not secure. They would know that information anyway. If they are asking for this information you should be wary.
- Phishing Email Has A Return Email Address That Doesn't Match
Carefully check the return email address. Remember that the displayed return address can be different than the email address you are actually sending to. To verify the address that you are actually sending to, click "Reply" then highlight the email address in the "To" area. Right click on the highlighted area and select "Properties". This will tell you the address it is being sent to. If they don't match, don't reply.
- Phishing Email Links to Web Sites in the Email That Doesn't Match the Hyperlinked Words
Check to make sure the link to a Web site is the same as what is displayed. For example I have coded this link http://www.internetfamilyfun.com to display a link to the Internet Family Fun Site but when you click it, it goes to Google.com. In a scam, a site could look similar to the official site and you might not notice that you aren't at the official site. To verify the link, click the link, then copy and paste the displayed text in the link into your browser and go there. If they are different, bells and whistles should be going off that indicate this is a phishing scam.
- Phishing Email Does Not Give Enough Information
Is the email addressed to you in the body of the email? Do they give dates and other information that verifies it is not a random email? If it doesn't, the same email has been sent to thousands of people.
- Phishing Email Mentions Organizations That Aren't Legitimate
In some phishing scams, they mention organizations to gain your trust such as the National Credit Bureau. There is no such organization. Double check that the official sounding organization does exist by doing a Google search and verifying that they are aware of this situation by looking at their Web site.
- Check with Government Agencies for Known Phishing Scams
Check with the Federal Trade Commission and Better Business Bureau to see if the scams are listed there.
- You Get Multiple Copies of the Phishing Scams
If you got more than one copy of the email, it should send up red flags that this is spam and it is not legitimate.
- Phishing Email Asks You To Call A Number
Some scams ask you to call a telephone number. This is designed to make you feel better because you are talking to a person. Remember that the telephone number can lead to any place (anyone can get an 800 number and answer it in any way they want and claim to be an official organization). In one scam to protect your identity they asked you to call and they asked for your name and social security number, then hung up. Never give out this kind of information unless you are absolutely sure you know who you are dealing with.
- Phishing Email Time Stamp
Check the time stamp on the email that was sent to you to determine if it came from within the United States.
- Phishing Email Protection Tip - Act Paranoid
Be very wary of email you get. Chances are they are trying to get information from you to rip you off. Besides, if you really are being defrauded, they wouldn't email you, the authorities would contact you via telephone or regular mail.
- Phishing Email Protection Tip - If It Sounds Too Good To Be True
It probably is!
Following these tips and being careful about giving out information can protect you from becoming a victim of a phishing scam.
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