Phishing attacks continue to make headlines nearly every day as one of the fastest growing forms of online fraud. Broadly defined, phishing attacks are Internet-based scams designed to trick consumers into disclosing credit card numbers, banking information, social security numbers, PIN numbers and other valuable personal information.
Most of us recognize conventional phishing attacks that leverage the identity of well-known financial institutions. But today, as fraudsters get more and more sophisticated, newer strains of phishing attacks are much harder to recognize. Pharming, for instance, occurs when a virus or malicious program (malware) is secretly planted on a consumer's computer, hijacking the Web browser. When the consumer types in a legitimate Web site, they're unwittingly taken to a fake version of the site where personal information disclosed at the phony site can be stolen.
Today, there's a lot of information and software tools you can use to help protect you and your computer from phishing attacks. One of the most important things you can do immediately is to adhere to a few simple policies. Cyveillance, (www.cyveillance.com) the leading provider of online risk monitoring and management solutions, reminds you of the most important safety tips to lessen your chance of becoming a victim.
- Never provide personal information over the Internet unless you initiated the contact.
- Don't use personal information for passwords. Using a birth date or social security number as a password is asking for trouble.
- Watch out for official looking e-mails from financial institutions claiming that your record has been lost. Never click on links that ask for personal information.
Chances are phishing schemes will be a round for the foreseeable future as they become trickier and better able to hide from detection. Following a few basic rules can make you less of a target for these crimes.
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