Phishing pronounced the same as the word fishing. Much like the sport of fishing in the way that the person committing credit fraud is "fishing" for your financial information.

Most of this is done on the internet, by email, but there are some very bold schemes that will even attempt to contact you by the telephone (if they have that information). Usually disguising themselves as a representative of some business or financial institution that you regularly deal with.

types of phishing schemes

One area used by these schemers are job seeking sites.

    Usually a telephone is listed and the scammer can call and pose as a prospective employer and ask for the usual information such as your social security number.

    So even if a legitimate prospective employer were to ask for this information via phone, firmly inform them that this kind of information needs to be received at the place of employment.

    The site phish bucket is dedicated toward job offers free of these scams and protecting you from them.

Some very basic and easily identifiable schemes are the emails that suggest you won some lottery from another country.

    It is usually illegal or at least you are ineligible to win a lottery outside of your country. So these types of scams are preying on your emotions.

    If you are on any mailing lists that put you in the category of entrepreneurial then you may get emails from out of the country that suggest you're needed in a private matter of moving money out of a country for someone else and will be rewarded for your efforts in this matter. For some reason they equate entrepreneurial with greedy. (I'm sure gifting and other get rich quick with no effort ideas are to blame for that).

    The FBI calls this one the Nigerian letter or 419 fraud as this violates a Nigerian criminal code by this number. To see more scams the FBI warns about common fraud schemes

Then there are the much more sophisticated emails that suggest that your account information needs to be updated or verified.

    Usually the emails and the websites that you are directed to visit are made to look official and the company logos are replicated.

    Red flags should go up if you receive an email from ANY company that asks you to verify important personal information such as your password, birth date, address, SS#. You gave any necessary information when you initiated your relationship with that company. They do not need to verify or update information. That is your job. If any of that is needed you will soon find out when you can't get into an account. In that case you will be calling them!!!

Some of the techniques used by these scammers suggest that your account will be closed if you do not respond in so many hours usually 48.

    Using this element of urgency to get you to respond without thinking about what you are doing. Some may suggest that an account has been compromised.

    When an account HAS legitimately been compromised the company notifying you does so by regular mail not by email!!

Some phishers can even infiltrate a legitimate site with pop up screens that ask for your information.

    Never put your information into one of these. Unless you initiate the contact, the putting your information into a website and certainly not in any pop up screens should ever be done.

Ways to protect yourself

    The spam filters on your email should help reduce the amount of phishing email you get.

    Protect yourself more with a good anti-virus protection that includes anti-spyware.

    The anti virus will scan messages and limit those that look problematic.

    The anti spyware will find programs that have been installed on your computer without your knowledge. Spyware tracks your use of the internet.

    Update your firewall. This will help keep hackers out and unauthorized communications from others from getting in.

If you are worried about spy ware or security in general there are many vendors that offer free scans many of these can be found at stay safe online

The best thing to do if you are a victim of any phishing scam or if anyone even tries to victimize you, it is best to report these activities to your local authorities, and lodge complaints in the proper places such as

the internet crime complaint center

the federal trade commissions fraud complaint center

return from phishing back to credit fraud

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