An Attempt to Define Phishing

When attempting to define Phishing, there is one constant being the goal: to get hold of your personal information. Phishing scams come in many shapes and sizes. The most common scams are emailed out to millions of people daily. These scams look like legitimate emails from a trusted company or even a government agency.

Typically, in the email, you are asked to click on a link which redirects you to a replica website. In these cases, the websites look exactly like the original one, with minor differences an unsuspecting user would not spot. You must go to the site to take advantage of the particular deal, winnings, or other scam the email explains. At the fraudulent website, you are asked for private information such as credit card details, bank account information, password, etc.

Now, this entire process is a scam that’s been engineered to make you give up your private information. That’s how you define phishing, or what others also refer to as ‘brand spoofing’. Phishing is a play on the word ‘fishing’ as the crooks are out there dangling bait in front of people, hoping for someone to bite.

To define phishing is not enough. You also need more insight into the various forms it can take. While it is impossible to go into all the types of phishing techniques, some more recent methods should be examined.

Money in your Account

In the past, there have been many phishing scams using fake banks. During the past year, thieves have been hammering on a new scam that informs the recipient of the email that there is a large amount of money in his account that needs to be claimed. You are asked to log into the account to claim all the money and provide sensitive information to verify the transaction.

Voice Mail Phishing

Another phishing technique uses voice mail messages which are supposed to be from legitimate organizations. The message is usually framed in a manner to cause some alarm and you are given a toll free number to contact. Once you do, you are required to provide information to confirm your identity so that you can clear up the problem.

Spear Phishing

Spear phishing targets a specific individual and sends across highly personalized messages. Because of the personal nature of these messages, it makes them very difficult to recognize as a phishing scam.

Where am I Most Likely to Come Across Phishing?

After you define phishing, it’s important to know the places you are most likely to encounter a phishing scam. The answer to that is, almost anywhere! A message from your bank, company you work for, or even a co-worker could be a phishing scam. Types of websites where these scams are prevalent are social media sites, networking sites and fake charity websites. You can even receive attempted phishing scams on your cell phone or instant messenger programs.

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