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Phishing For Your Identity

Posted by cotojo on April 17, 2007

Who hasn’t received an email directing them to visit a
familiar website where they are being asked to update their
personal information?  The website needs you to verify or
update your passwords, credit card numbers, social security
number, or even your bank account number.  You recognize
the business name as one that you’ve conducted business
with in the past.  So, you click on the convenient “take me
there” link and proceed to provide all the information they
have requested.  Unfortunately, you find out much later
that the website is bogus.  It was created with the sole
intent to steal your personal information.  You, my friend,
have just been “phished”.

Phishing (pronounced as “fishing”) is defined as the act
of sending an email to a recipient falsely claiming to have
an established, legitimate business.  The intent of the
phisher is to scam the recipient into surrendering their
private information, and ultimately steal your identity.

It is not at easy as you think to spot an email phishing
for information.  At first glance, the email may look like
it is from a legitimate company. The “From” field of the e-
mail may have the .com address of the company mentioned in
the e-mail.  The clickable link even appears to take you to
the company’s website, when in fact, it is a fake website
built to replicate the legitimate site.

Many of these people are professional criminals.  They
have spent a lot of time in creating emails that look
authentic.  Users need to review all emails requesting
personal information carefully.  When reviewing your email
remember that the “From Field” can be easily changed by the
sender.  While it may look like it is coming from a .com
you do business with, looks can be deceiving.  Also keep in
mind that the phisher will go all out in trying to make
their email look as legitimate as possible.  They will even
copy logos or images from the official site to use in their
emails.  Finally, they like to include a clickable link
that the recipient can follow to conveniently update their
A great way to check the legitimacy of the link is to
point at the link with your mouse. Then, look in the bottom
left hand screen of your computer.  The actual website
address to which you are being directed will show up for
you to view.  It is a very quick and easy way to check if
you are being directed to a legitimate site.

Finally, follow the golden rule.  Never, ever, click the
links within the text of the e-mail, and always delete the
e-mail immediately. Once you have deleted the e-mail, empty
the trash box in your e-mail accounts as well. If you are
truly concerned that you are missing an important notice
regarding one of your accounts, then type the full URL
address of the website into your browser.  At least then
you can be confident that you are, in fact, being directed
to the true and legitimate website.

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3 Responses to “Phishing For Your Identity”

  1. cotojo said

    Daniel – Thank you so much for your valuable input.

    As you say job scams are indeed another method of identity theft.

    If it’s ok with you I will create a link back to you as you have a very comprehensive and useful list.

  2. Daniel said

    How true. And another way to steal people’s identity is through job scams

    You may want to elaborate on this as well, as many don’t realize that when they forward their CVs or their passport data to any foreigner they lose their privacy and can get into big trouble.

  3. […] Original post by […]

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