The word phishing comes from the analogy that Internet scammers are using email lures to 'fish' for passwords and financial data from the sea of Internet users.
Phishing, also called "brand spoofing" is the creation of email messages and Web pages that are replicas of existing, legitimate sites and businesses. These Web sites and emails are used to trick users into submitting personal, financial, or password data. These emails often ask for information such as credit card numbers, bank account information, social insurance numbers, and passwords that will be used to commit fraud.
The goal of criminals using brand spoofing is to lead consumers to believe that a request for information is coming from a legitimate company. In reality it is a malicious attempt to collect customer information for the purpose of committing fraud.
Tips on how to spot and avoid phishing scams
- Protect your computer with anti-virus software, spyware filters, email filters and firewall programs.
- Contact the financial institution immediately and report your suspicions.
- Do not reply to any email that requests your personal information.
- Look for misspelled words.
Always report phishing or 'spoofed' emails.
If you've received one of these suspicious emails, report it to firstname.lastname@example.org or the financial institution that it appears to be from.
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