What are Phishing Scams?

A phishing scam comes in the form of e-mail or instant messages that look like they’re from reputable companies like Paypal, eBay, and other well known companies.  These emails can appear very legitimate, right down to a spoofed e-mail address.Click here for an example from Microsoft of what an actual phishing scam e-mail might look like.

The e-mail will then try to lead you to a fake web page (that can also appear quite convincing). Many phishing scams will try to convince that there is an urgent reason you must “verify” or “re-submit” personal or confidential information.

The phishing site will then ask for the user’s personal information, such as credit card numbers, account usernames, passwords and social security numbers. If the victim is tricked into giving this information, their sensitive data can then be used to buy things, apply for a new credit card, or otherwise steal a person’s identity.How to Protect Yourself from Phishing Scams

Spotting a fake email can be tricky since the phishers go to great lengths to look like the real thing. However, there are some warning signs that you can watch out for.You should always be wary of any message that asks for your personal information, or emails that refer you to a webpage that asks for personal information. Most businesses aren’t going to ask you for your personal information. If you receive a request for personal information, call the company first and make sure the request is legitimate. This one simple step can save you a lot of heartache.Beware of Warnings. Many phishers attempt to get people to respond to their emails
without thinking by saying that an account will be closed in 48 hours if you don’t take immediate action.

Phishers often use a URL that is very similar to the legitimate URL of the company
website. Lookout for typos.

Trust your instincts. If an e-mail message looks suspicious, it probably is