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Phishing: Don’t Get Caught

“We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account. To ensure that your account is not compromised, please click below and confirm your identity.”

“During our regular verification of accounts, we couldn’t verify your information. Please click here to update and verify your information.”

Ever received an email with a similar message? If so, you’ve been exposed to ‘phishing’.

Phishing is a criminal act used to extract personal information (passwords, bank account/credit card details, social security numbers, and mother’s maiden name).  Phishers masquerade as a trustworthy person/business in typically an email or instant message. The message may ask you to “update”, “confirm,” or “validate” your account information and threaten a consequence for failure to comply. The message then directs you to a website, that appears to be legitimate – but isn’t.  It’s a trap designed to steal your personal information/identity.

Phishing is sophisticated and prevalent, visit http://www.millersmiles.co.uk/scams.php to see examples. And use these quick tips to avoid getting caught:

  1. Don’t reply to email or pop-up messages that ask for personal or financial information. Don’t click on links in the message. Don’t cut and paste a link from the message into your Web browser.
  2. If concerned about your account, call the organization using a phone number you know to be genuine. Open a new Internet browser session and type the company’s correct Web address yourself.
  3. Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software, as well as a firewall and update them all regularly.
  4. Don’t email personal or financial information.
  5. Review credit card and bank account statements as soon as they arrive. Check for unauthorized charges.
  6. Forward phishing emails to spam@uce.gov (Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial E-mail) and to the company, bank or organization impersonated within the email.
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