Crooks Go "Phishing" by Jim Edwards
latest craze among online evil-doers,
has nothing to do with sitting at the end of a dock on a
sunny afternoon dangling a worm to entice hungry catfish.
But, if you take their bait, this new breed of online con
artist will hook you, reel you in, and take you for every
dollar you have... or worse.
"Phishing" describes a combination of techniques
used by cyber crooks to bait people into giving up
sensitive personal data such as credit card
social security numbers, bank account numbers, dates of
birth and more.
Their techniques work so well that, according
to FraudWatchInternational.com, "phishing"
the fastest growing scam
on the Internet.
Here's the basic pattern for
a "phishing" scam...
You receive a very official-looking email that appears
from a legitimate source, such as a bank, eBay, PayPal,
a major retailer, or some other well known entity.
In the email it tells you that something bad is about
to happen unless you act quickly.
Typically it tells you that your account is about
to get closed, or that someone appears to have stolen
your identity, or even that someone opened a fraudulent
account using your name. (They use the fear factor)
In order to help straighten everything out, the letter indicates
that you need to click a link in the email and provide some
basic account information so they can verify your identity
and then give you additional details so you can help get
everything cleared up.
Once you give up your
information... it's all over
but the crying!
After getting your information, these cyber-bandits can
empty your bank accounts, deplete your PayPal accounts,
run up your credit card balances, open new credit accounts,
assume your identity and much worse.
An especially disturbing new variation
scam specifically targets online business owners
and affiliate marketers.
In this con, the
scammer's email informs you that they've
just sent $1,219.43 (or a similar big but believable
amount) in affiliate commissions to you via PayPal.
They tell you that they need you to log into your PayPal account to
verify receipt of the money and then email them back to confirm you got
Since you're so excited at the possibility of an unexpected
pay day, you click the link to go to PayPal, log in, and BANG!
They have your PayPal login information and can empty
This new "phishing" style scam works extremely well for
2 basic reasons.
First, by exploiting your
sense of urgency created by fear
or greed, crooks get you to click the link and give them
your information without thinking.
Second, the scammers use a variety of cloaking and spoofing
techniques to make their emails and websites appear
totally legitimate, making it
extremely hard to spot
a fake website, especially when they've first whipped
you into an emotional frenzy beforehand.
The good news, however, is that you
can protect yourself
relatively easily against this type of cyber-crime
with basic software and common sense.
Most of these scams get delivered to you via Spam
(unsolicited email), so a good spam blocker
down on many of them even making it to your inbox.
If you receive an email that looks legitimate and you
want to respond, Stop - Wait -
Verify all phone
numbers with a physical phone book
or online phone directory like www.Verizon.com or
www.ATT.com/directory/ before calling.
Look for spelling
and grammatical errors that make it look
like someone who doesn't speak English or your native
language very well wrote it.
Never click the
link provided in the email, but go
directly to the website by manually typing in the main address of
the site yourself (example: www.paypal.com or www.ebay.com).
Forward the email
to the main email address of the website
(example: email@example.com) or call the customer service
number on the main website you typed in yourself and ask
if it is in fact legitimate.
Above all remember this:
Your bank, credit card company, PayPal, eBay and
anyone else you deal with online already knows
your account number, username, password or any other
account specific information. They will NEVER email you
asking for it, not EVER, so don't
ever give it out.
They don't need to email you for ANY reason to ask you
to confirm your information--so NEVER
respond to email
requests for your
or personal details.
-- Jim Edwards is a syndicated newspaper columnist
and the co-author of an amazing new ebook that will teach
you how to use fr-e articles to quickly drive thousands
of targeted visitors to your website or affiliate links...
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Post-Note from Donna
This is just the first in a series of articles I will be providing as a
public service and education for all internet users, because I care
about people and I abhor man's inhumanity to man. The earth is
such a beautiful place and it should be respected, along with the
inhabitants, not exploited and ruined by those who care only about
their own greedy aspirations. We must all help one another in
fight against evil
(both online and offline). It starts
with you and me.
help at http://wiredsafety.org
because you CAN make a difference! Visit CNVC
(Center for NonViolent
Communication) to learn more, too.
Have a blessing-FULL day,
Donna Maher RN
This page is yet another one by a person who is also dedicated to
consumer education and protection online.
I hope you find it useful and perhaps recommend it to your friends and
We all have to fight this together in order to win the war against SPAM
and other online maladies.
Donna's Safety Tips:
(And, links to some
helpful products below the tips.)
A Good Spam-Blocker Software
a good free firewall like Zone Alarm
Paying Attention to what you receive and staying calm and remaining
unemotional when it sounds too good to be true, it usually is!
up to date on all the latest scams
in doubt, DON'T follow any link in your emails, and ALWAYS do what Jim
says, hand-type the URL into your browser before logging in, it's worth
the extra trouble, believe it!
Highest quality Anti-Spam Software Source
FireWall to protect your computer for free
Another very good anti-spam software you can
download and use right away.
now has a useful SCAM- Blocker
toolbar, even if you aren't using Earthlink as your ISP...
and it *really* helps you stop the phishing scams Jim has mentioned in
Notice the links at the top of
the page, too, they are connected to some more cyber scam stuff you
might like to learn more about. :-)
Get totally VIRAL with your ClickBank ID
today with this great free program!