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“Phishing” is the term used to describe the act of someone fraudulently trying to acquire your passwords and/or credit card information through the Internet. It’s becoming more and more of a security concern, though there are easy ways to protect yourself from it.
The way that scammers usually go about trying to acquire your sensitive information involves pretending to be a legitimate source. The most common – and increasingly more widespread – way this happens is by a scammer sending you an e-mail disguised in such a way that it looks like it’s from a credible source. For example, an e-mail from your bank stating that you need to update your account information. Inside the e-mail would be a line stating, “Click here to update your account information” followed by a link that if you click on supposedly takes you to your bank’s website.
There are two ways to avoid being the next victim of phishing:
1) Do not ever provide sensitive information on-line from a link within an e-mail. If your bank truly needed you to update your account, you’d see this request the next time you log into your account and/or the bank would mail you a notification.
2) In case you think, for some reason, the link is from a credible source, hover over it with your mouse cursor and look at the description at the bottom of the Internet window. It will tell you exactly where the link is taking you. If it’s a series of numbers or words other than your bank’s name, then it is definitely a scammer.
Also, to help fight against scammers, you can usually report cases of fraud by forwarding your e-mail to the appropriate address. Contact your financial institution for instructions.