Phishing. Taking the bait

You receive an email from your bank requesting information.  The email looks legit, you click on the link and it appears to launch your banks web site.  Humm all looks well and you provide the requested information.  The next day you notice your bank account has been drained of all funds.  What happened!  You’ve just been Phished.

When it comes to technology and its impacts to life, currently there is nothing more intrusive, potentially damaging, and impacts to personal life than Phishing schemes.  Phishing uses electronic masquerade methods such as email and fictitious web sites to obtain sensitive personal information.  The look of these emails and websites are so realistic, it’s often difficult to distinguish between the real and the fake.  Phishing uses social engineering tactics to fake, influence or trick, usually an individual, into conducting an action resulting in compound effects.

Over the past six months, Phishing crimes have doubled and overall has increased by 600 percent.  Recently Operation Phish Phry conducted by the FBI charged 100 people in the U.S. and Egypt who had victimized thousands of accounts resulting in millions of dollars in fraud.  This is only a small fraction of deceitful electronic criminals in the cyber world.  This is a very serious threat to you and our financial institutions.

How to protect yourself from taking the bait.

– Use anti-virus software and keep it updated
– Ensure all operating system security updates are maintained
– Use an alternative DNS source such as opendns.com to assist in protection
– Be cautious of any email which requests urgent personal information updates
– Do not use links in email, chat, or instant messages to get to any web site.
– Never email personal or financial information
– Contact you financial institution if you have doubts or questions
– Review your statements periodically for suspicious behavior
– Report Phishing email to antiphishing.org at [email protected] and the FTC at [email protected]
– If in doubt, don’t do it!

What to do if you have been Phished.

– Change passwords on all financial accounts
– Notify your financial institution of the fraud
– Notify The Internet Crime Complaint Center of the FBI on their website: www.ic3.gov/www.ic3.gov/

Don’t be scared of using the Internet and all of its great aspects, but do be cautious of being Phished and don’t take the bait.

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