e-mail Scams and Phishing Spend time on the internet and you will run undoubtedly come across various scams designed to get you to give up your personal and financial information. The good news is that there are lots of resources available to help inform and educate you on safe computing practices. Listed below are several tips and links to help you on your way to being a safer and smarter web surfer.
According to Phishinginfo.org the definition of Phishing is: To trick people into providing their personal and financial information by pretending to be from a legitimate company, agency or organization.
Below is a guideline provided by the Federal Trade Commission to help you avoid e-mail scams. Visit their web site for more details.
The FTC, the nation's consumer protection agency, suggests these tips to help you avoid getting hooked by a phishing scam:
If you get an e-mail or pop-up message that asks for personal or financial information, do not reply or click on the link in the message. Legitimate companies don't ask for this information via e-mail. If you are concerned about your account, contact the organization in the e-mail using a telephone number you know to be genuine, or open a new Internet browser session and type in the company's correct Web address. In any case, don't cut and paste the link in the message.
Don't e-mail personal or financial information. E-mail is not a secure method of transmitting personal information. If you initiate a transaction and want to provide your personal or financial information through an organization's Web site, look for indicators that the site is secure, like a lock icon on the browser's status bar or a URL for a web site that begins "https:" (the "s" stands for "secure"). Unfortunately, no indicator is foolproof; some phishers have forged security icons.
Review credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them to determine whether there are any unauthorized charges. If your statement is late by more than a couple of days, call your credit card company or bank to confirm your billing address and account balances.
Use anti-virus software and keep it up to date. Some phishing e-mails contain software that can harm your computer or track your activities on the Internet without your knowledge. Anti-virus software and a firewall can protect you from inadvertently accepting such unwanted files. Anti-virus software scans incoming communications for troublesome files. Look for anti-virus software that recognizes current viruses as well as older ones; that can effectively reverse the damage; and that updates automatically.
Be cautious about opening any attachment or downloading any files from e-mails you receive, regardless of who sent them.
Report suspicious activity to the FTC. If you get spam that is phishing for information, forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you believe you've been scammed, file your complaint at www.ftc.gov, and then visit the FTC's Identity Theft Web site to learn how to minimize your risk of damage from ID theft.
Visit spam info to learn other ways to avoid e-mail scams and deal with deceptive spam.
OnGaurd Online is website full of information on how to prevent e-mail and internet scams, protect your online privacy and keep your computer secure.