"Phishing" refers to when scam artists contact you via phone or email pretending to be with a business or organization that you may deal with, for example, a bank, an internet service provider, online payment service or even a government agency.
What you need to know about Phishing:
- Called "phishing" when e-mail is used; "vishing" when you're contacted via telephone.
- Your bank will never contact you to ask for your password, account number or other account-accessing details.
- Protect your computer with spam filters, anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a firewall. Remember to update them regularly.
- Don't send personal or financial information through your email.
- If you need to reach an organization you do business with, call the number on your financial statements or on the back of your credit card.
- Use caution when providing your personal information. Do business online with reputable companies on secure websites.
- If you suspect a message or a call is part of a phishing scam, contact the institution to alert them to the scam.
Recognize a Phisher:
- You're asked to verify your account - legitimate businesses do not ask for your passwords, login names, Social Security numbers or other personal information through e-mail.
- An e-mail pop-up message asks you to "Click the link below to gain access to your account." This is a fake website where the scam artist will ask you for personal information. Test the validity of the link by resting your mouse over the link-this will reveal the actual website name.