The internet has become our main source of information. OK, that first statement was for those of us that have been living in the pre-desktop era and refuse to venture off into the “New World Order” of free information. Not even Bill Gates thought the internet would be as popular and important as it is today. Every day there are millions of transactions that occur between people, families, and even businesses without even giving a second thought of doing it the old fashioned way. Besides, who ever heard of a face to face transaction anyway?
Truth is with all of this information being passed everywhere; there are those that would use these powers for evil. Phishing has long been a method that online predators and hackers use to gain access to valid important information. Phishing is the criminally fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information, by any means necessary. There have been millions of innocent people scammed by those who have no shame and pry on the unsuspecting. Here are a few ways to protect yourself against phishing:
- Ensure you have some form of anti-phishing software loaded on your PC. This will either disallow phishing emails or re-direct them to the “junk” folder in your email.
- Never offer any sensitive information to anyone you don’t know over the internet, over the telephone, or through email. That includes social security numbers, address, phone numbers, and banking information. Most legitimate businesses will not ask for such information outright, and require you to log-in to a secure website before requiring such information from you.
- Do your research. If you are being solicited by a “business” online or over the phone, do your due diligence and check their website. Ensure the website is secure. Look for the little padlock on the web page. Also check the Better Business Bureau for report on the history of the business.
Remember that a good scam requires that it sound legitimate. It wouldn’t be much of a scam if it weren’t. So protect yourself, your finances, your families and your businesses.