Have you been the victim of a phishing scam? Do you also have anti-virus software that will aid in preventing phishing from occurring? How does phishing start? You normally will see it in the form of an email or an instant message that comes to you. Typically it comes in the form of a bank that you might be a member of like Bank of America and it will ask you to verify your account information, which you can do by clicking on a link through the email. It usually says something that your account has been hacked or that there is an emergency that you need to respond to.
These phishing scams do a good job of making themselves look real and look valid. They usually use the name of the bank that you are a member of but the difference is the email, take a look at the address and you will see that it doesn’t actually come from your bank and it likely has a different ending to “Bank of America” at the end.
If you do click on the link you will be directed to a website that looks very familiar to your own bank’s website. You need to be careful because they want you to input your username and password as this is how they will gain access to your account. Do not be fooled by this page because it really will look like your bank’s website. You can compare your bank’s website to the phishing one and you will be able to see that your Internet browser will actually not show the green color in the URL nor will they show the security symbol when it is a phishing scam.
Never click through the email and instead check through the website you have saved in your favorites that is the actual account. This will allow you to see if there are any messages for you that the bank needs you to check through. The other option you have is to contact your bank by using the phone number on the back of your credit card or debit card.
These emails often use many of the same phrases like “confirm your email address” or “confirm your identity” or “verify your personal information”. Even if you have a great email spam detector, it won’t be able to get to all of your spam emails. Send it to the junk mail or report them as a phishing scam. Good antivirus software should be able to inform you of a fraudulent site. Instead of clicking on the link, copy it and paste it into the Google search browser and you will see your virus program put a red checkmark or security symbol next to the website to show it is an unsecured or harmful website.
Read the sender information on the email to see the differences. It will likely have something like email@example.com versus the original email that Paypal actually send out like firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep in mind that financial institutions will always contact you via the mail or via phone. They do not send emails ever asking you to identify yourself. They will likely send an email to let you know your new statement is available, to which you should open a new web browser to go to the website instead of clicking on the link. This way you will be able to be sure you are actually on the real website of your bank and not on an invalid website that could be a phishing scam.
Some phishing scams will ask for very large sums of money or they will claim to be a relative that is in prison and need you to wire money to them. Never trust any email from anyone that is asking you to send money to them as it is likely a phishing scam.