Have you ever received an email that stated either of
"Your bank account information needs to be updated.
Please use the link below to enter your personal
"During routine account maintenance, we could not confirm
your information. Please use the link below to confirm
your personal information."
What is phishing?
When someone sends you an email similar to the ones
above, it is called "phishing". These emails are not
real. They are an attempt to get you to enter your bank
account information, credit card numbers, social security
number, account PINS, etc. so that they can be used
Phishers will send you an email that claims to be from a
business that you may have a relationship with, i.e. your
bank, PayPal, Ebay, etc.. The email will ask you to
'validate', 'update', and/or confirm your account
information. Often the phisher will claim
that if you do not follow the instructions in the email,
that your account will be suspended or deactivated. The
website that the email sends you is set-up to look
like the businesses' real website. This is to help
solidify your trust so that you give up your info.
Once a phisher has your information, they will steal your
identity, open up new accounts, commit crimes in your
There are things you can do to prevent yourself from
becoming a victim of a phishing scam:
-- Never respond to any emails that ask for your
personal information or account info. No real company
will ask you for this type of information in an email. If you every have any doubts,
contact the business in question via telephone and ask
them about the email.
-- When visiting a website, make sure that the url
is correct. Never copy and paste the url into the browser
from a suspicious email. Phishers have the ability to make
the url seem like it is from the genuine company's
-- Buy anti-virus software and make sure that you keep this software
updated regularly. There are certain types of phishing
scams that will install 'spyware' on your computer.
Spyware tracks your internet activity and can even record
what you are typing on your keyboard. Learn more about
how anti-virus software works.
-- Install a firewall on your computer. A firewall
will protect from hackers and/or phishers that will
attempt to access your computer through security holes. A
firewall blocks all holes.
-- Never use email to send personal or financial info to anyone. Email is
not a safe means of sending info.
-- If you are making a purchase from or entering
personal info on a website, make sure the site is secure.
A secure site's url will always start with https://. The
's' from the http stands for 'secure'.
-- Be careful about downloading any attachments in
emails, no matter who has sent them to you.
Phishing scams can develop into identity theft. There is
not a 100% guarantee that you will not become a victim of
identity theft. However, if you follow the information
above, as well as the
tips for avoiding identity theft, you minimize your
You should get copy of your
credit report regularly so
that you can spot any illegal activity quick. Learn what
you can do if you do become a
victim of identity theft, you must take action fast.