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Effective Methods To Prevent Becoming a Phishing Scam Victim

written by: Regina Woodard•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 2/28/2011

Phishing is a common email and internet scam, in which someone attempt to fraudulently steal another's private information. In this article, we'll explain effective methods that can help you easily detect and avoid getting caught by a phishing scam.

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    Phishing has become a very popular way to use the Internet as a means of virtual and even real life attacks at people whom, for most, have never met each other. What exactly is phishing? And how exactly does it happen? Why does it happen? In this article, learn what phishing is and how to use effective methods to prevent becoming a phishing scam victim?

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    What Is Phishing Scam

    What is phishing? Phishing is the attempt to acquire valuable personal and sensitive information such as credit card numbers, passwords, usernames, etc by pretending to be a trustworthy individual, business or an individual you know. Effective Methods to Prevent Becoming a Phishing Scam Victim 

    Phishing is usually carried out by sending an email to a group of people, pretending to be a trustworthy entity, such as your financial institution. This email will usually state that there's been a change in the company that requires you to reply back or to click a link and entering your financial information, such as your username, your password, and your account number. Sometimes it will ask for your social security number.

    If given a link, the webpage will look exactly like that of your banking or financial website, and because of that, people will no doubt do as the email has stated. The problem of course is that this website is not your financial institution's actual webpage; it is a fake. And now, the hacker or spammer has now gotten your private and personal information.

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    Phishing Detecting And Prevention

    How is it that people can get caught in a phishing scam? Anyone can be tricked by a stylish phishing scam, but simple phishing scams can easily be spotted, even those that seem like the real thing.

    Here are some popular phrases to look for in your emails, if you suspect message to be a phishing scam.

    1) "Verify your account."

    This is probably one of the more popular scams. As mentioned above, these types of emails state that you will need to verify your account by clicking on a link below.

    The best way to avoid this is to not click anything within the email. Instead, open another browser tab or window and go to your banking institution's website or give them a call. Most institutions now have separate areas to report phishing; remember that your bank will never ask you for your personal information through email.

    2) "You have won the lottery."

    This is one of the most common phishing scams around, also known as fee fraud'. The message informs you have won a large amount of money and asks you to reply to the message with your address, bank details and other personal information. These scams often come pretending to be from reputed organizations such as IBM, Microsoft, etc

    3) Your account will be closed if you do not respond within 24 hours.

    This is done to scare people, especially with so many of us using several types of online accounts. Because of the scare, people won't look at the clues that clearly state that this is a fake email. Look at the way the words are said or spelled in the email; often, these emails are not sent by an English speaking person. As with the above, open up a separate browser and check the owner's site.

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    The best way to spare yourself the harm of being a phishing victim is to use your own judgment.

    If at any time you suspect that there you have received a suspicious email, notify your bank or organization. Again, don't click on any links. Either open a new window or give them a call directly. What do you do if you have been phished? If you believe that you have been a victim of a phishing scam, notify the institution of the scam. If you've given out your information, contact the bank to close down that account temporary or even permanently, in order to keep anyone from accessing it.