In computing, phishing is a form of social engineering, characterized by attempts to fraudulently acquire sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card details, by masquerading as a trustworthy person or business in an apparently official electronic communication, such as an email or an instant message. The term phishing arises from the use of increasingly sophisticated lures to “fish” for users’ financial information and passwords.The attempts can be very deceiving. You may receive an email that “appears” to be from a reputable company such as E-Bay or PayPal saying click here to respond to this message or click here to update your account information. You may also recieve something that is a bit more suspicious such as “You have just won a 6 day/7 nights European Vacation.” In reality, these emails just want you to go to a website and enter in personal information so that the people who sent you such messages can either steal your identity or gain access to your accounts for use in fraudulent activities.

Phishing Example
This examples involves a PayPal scheme and a SouthTrust Bank Scheme.

PayPal Phish – In this phishing scheme the targeted user may send an email saying that PayPal has (“no choice but to temporarily suspend your account”), the wording itself is a clue that this is a fraudulent email message. Also, a link may also be visible, “Click here to verify your account,”. An IP address is also visible that should not be there.

SouthTrust Bank – In this phishing scheme the targeted user is sent an email saying that they are upgrading their system and that you need to go to a specific website to verify your personal information. Take time to examine messages and learn how to Identify Phishing Schemes. As they say, Knowledge Is Power. The more knowledge you have about phishing schemes the better you will be at identifying potentially fraudulent emails.

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