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What is Phishing?

Phishing is a type of deception designed to steal your valuable personal data, such as credit card numbers, passwords, account data, or other information.

Con artists might send millions of fraudulent e-mail messages that appear to come from Web sites you trust, like your bank or credit card company, and request that you provide personal information.

How to tell if an e-mail message is fraudulent?

Here are a few phrases to look for if you think an e-mail message is a phishing scam.

  • “Verify your account.”
  • Businesses should not ask you to send passwords, login names, Social Security numbers, or other personal information through e-mail.
  • “If you don’t respond within 48 hours, your account will be closed.”
  • These messages convey a sense of urgency so that you’ll respond immediately without thinking. Phishing e-mail might even claim that your response is required because your account might have been compromised.
  • “Dear Valued Customer.”
  • Phishing e-mail messages are usually sent out in bulk and often do not contain your first or last name.
  • “Click the link below to gain access to your account.”

HTML-formatted messages can contain links or forms that you can fill out just as you’d fill out a form on a Web site. The links that you are urged to click may contain all or part of a real company’s name and are usually “masked,” meaning that the link you see does not take you to that address but somewhere different, usually a phony Web site.

If you suspect you have received a phishing e-mail, delete it immediately or, if you feel comfortable doing so, contact the company the email was supposedly from. Many companies encourage phishing victims to contact them right away so they can help better the situation and have a clearer understanding of what scammers are presently sending to people.

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