Protect You and Your Customers from Phishing Scams
Phishing is one of the fastest growing online frauds today. It uses spam email to defraud victims. It is becoming increasingly common - and increasingly dangerous.
Phishers send out emails falsely claiming to be an established and legitimate company in an attempt to scam users into surrendering private information that will subsequently be used for identity theft. The email directs the user to a website where they are asked to update personal information. This can include passwords and credit cards, social security, bank account numbers and other sensitive information that the legitimate organization already has on file.
This website is bogus even though it looks identical to the legitimate site. Once a customer has updated their data, the phishers steal the identity and run up bills in your name or uses it to commit other crimes.
A common phishing technique involves creating the impression that there is an immediate need for personal information, luring unsuspecting users to quickly click on a link to these bogus sites. By spamming large groups of people, phishers can convince up to five percent of email users to reveal sensitive and personal information.
One of the easiest ways to protect yourself from phishers is to take simple precautions.
- Do not respond to unsolicited emails that ask for any personal information regardless of how urgent the request appears. Legitimate companies do not ask for personal or sensitive information in this format. If you are concerned about your account - contact the company directly using an email address or phone number that you know is legitimate.
- Do not email any personal or financial information. If you initiate a purchase online, look for indicators that the site is secure. E.g. a lock icon, a url that begins with "https:" (the "s" stands for secure)
- Review your credit card and bank statements as you receive them to ensure that all transactions are legitimate.
- Get spam and anti-virus protection. Using the same methods to detect spam, phishing emails can be identified and filtered out of inbound email to stop you from receiving them.
- Report anything suspicious. Contact the legitimate company in the suspect email using an email address or phone number that you know is correct.
If you believe that you responded to a phishing email and provided sensitive and personal information to a bogus website:
- Contact the legitimate company in the suspect email using an email address or phone number that you know is correct.
- Contact your credit card company and request that a fraud alert be placed on your card(s).
- Take preventative action for the future through awareness and by investing in an anti-spam and anti-virus service.
Protect yourself and your customers from phishing. Be aware of what it is and take preventative measures.