The phenomenon of internet phishing scams is a serious problem, and the number and sophistication of these schemes are increasing all the time. Individuals using the web for personal or business reasons must be alert to possible fraud, and employers should warn their employees and customers to be extremely selective about giving out personal financial information over the Internet.
The following is a list of suggestions and recommendations that may help people avoid becoming a victim of these online phishing scams.
1. Never fill out forms in e-mail messages that ask for personal financial information. Many Phishing scams are designed to get access to accounts that can then be drained of funds by the scammers
2. Check your online accounts regularly, as well as your bank, credit and debit card statements to make sure all transactions are legitimate.
3. If you suspect an e-mail might not be authentic, don't use the links within the e-mail to get to a webpage, as it may leave your computer vulnerable. Often the entire point of these e-mails is to get you to do just that.
4. You should always be suspicious of any e-mail with “urgent” requests for personal financial information.
5. If you do provide personal information (like a credit card number), do so only via a secure website or the telephone.
6. Always make sure you're on a secure Web server when sharing sensitive information. To do so, check the beginning of the URL in your browser address bar. It should be "https" rather than "http." The "s" stands for secure.
7. It’s advisable to install a Web browser toolbar to alert you before you visit known phishing fraud websites.
8. If you receive an e-mail message that is not personalized, assume it's a shady message.
9. If e-mails use upsetting or exciting statements to try to get you to react immediately, that’s a red flag signaling to stop and think carefully about your next move; these statements are almost always false anyway.
10. Make sure that your browser is up-to-date and security patches have been applied.
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