What is Phishing? How to protect yourself against fraudulent email


 As briefly mentioned in last weeks blog post Protecting Your Identity , phishing is an activity where fraudsters pose as a legitimate company in order to obtain financial or other confidential information from individuals.  If a scammer or fraudster gains access to your financial information, it leaves the door wide open for credit card and identity fraud. The most common type of phishing is through impersonation emails. It is trivially easy for a fraudster to impersonate a legitimate bank or organization. They can even make their “from” email address look like an official company. For example, say your financial institution is Trusted Bank of Canada, the fraudster could disguise their email as security@trustedbankofcanada.com. The fraudster is trying to trick you by gaining your trust in the impersonated company, and by scaring you into thinking your account is at risk.

Here’s how it works. A fraudster will create an email that imitates a bank or financial institution. The email we likely contain a link(s) and information stating that your bank account has been compromised. It will then tell you to ‘click on the link’ in order to confirm your account information and protect yourself from fraud. DO NOT CLICK THE LINK. Clicking the link will likely spread malware throughout your computer, and/or direct you to a website asking for your credit card or personal information. Once they have this information, the fraudsters can pursue identity, and/or credit card fraud. Anyone can be at risk of becoming a victim of phishing. Here are some tips for protecting yourself.
  • Be cautious if you have received an unsolicited email from a bank or company. Especially if they are requesting urgent information.
  • Legitimate companies will never request personal information,usernames,or passwords via email. 
  • Never click the link.Do not click on a link in an email to log in to a site; always visit the site by typing the URL into your browser or doing a google search
  • If you are ever unsure of a suspicious email, contact the company directly to inquire. 
Source: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/phishing