Tips to Protect Yourself from Phishing Scams
Are you familiar with the term phishing? This article will introduce you to the danger of phishing and provide a few tips that will help protect you from becoming a victim of a phishing scam.
Phishing is the use of spam email messages that appear to originate from legitimate businesses that one might have a relationship with, including banks, on-line retailers, insurance agencies and mortgage companies. The messages typically contain a link to a web site that is designed to look extremely authentic, including copies of official corporate logos and corporate verbiage.
The web sites typically ask for verification of personal information, such as account numbers, passwords and social security numbers. Due to the fact that the email message and web site look so official, it is very easy for unsuspecting recipients to respond, resulting in possible financial losses, identity theft and other fraudulent activity.
The IRS has provided the following tips on protecting yourself from phishing scams and identity theft:
- Be skeptical of communications you receive from sources you are not expecting. Verify the authenticity of phone calls, standard mail, faxes or e-mails of questionable origin before responding.
- Do not reveal secret passwords, PINs or other security-based data to third parties; genuine organizations or institutions do not need your secret data for ordinary business transactions.
- Do not click on links contained in possibly questionable e-mails; instead, go directly to the site already known to be genuine. For example, the only address for the IRS Web site is www.irs.gov â€” any other variations on this will not lead to the legitimate IRS Web site.
- Do not open attachments to e-mails of possibly questionable origin, since they may contain viruses that will infect your computer.
- Shred paper documents containing private financial information before discarding.
Please share any warnings of current phishing scams or provide additional tips to prevent becoming a victim of these scams.