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What Are Phishing Scams

Phising Scams

Phishing is a deception that is premeditated by online criminals to thieve users of personal information like passwords, credit card numbers, account data, social security number etc. The con artists send tons of fraudulent e-mail messages to millions of mail accounts, while the emails seem to originate from Web sites that users depend on, for instance a bank or credit card company; they are always requesting the user for personal information. Using a variety of spoofing and social engineering ploys the phishers try to trick their susceptible victims.

According to one report by the APWG, Anti-Phishing Working Group, in the first half of 2004 the number of Phishing scams increased by 800% and considering the figures from November 2003 and May 2004, the percent was at a stunning 4000. For the month of June 2004, this average attacks reported by APWG was 50 per day from different sources. So with collective emails being sent out, each of these unique attacks can affect almost a thousand users, if not millions, which boils down to nearly three to five percent of the email receivers. This results in huge payoffs for the swindlers since the numbers of people targeted are tremendous.

To avoid being a victim of a phishing scam it is important to understand how these Phishing emails look like. As the level of sophistication of scam artists continues to improve, their emails, messages and pop-ups also go on to develop. This means that in order to make emails more legit, the phishers use official-looking logos, identifying information, etc and even place links that appear to go to the legitimate site. However these links actually take the users to phony scam sites or pop ups that are identical to the official site, known as "spoofed" Web sites. This way a user unknowingly enters personal information at the spoof sites and becomes a victim of identity theft.

Fake Emails Alibaba

Here are a few telltale signs of a "phishing" e-mails that look official and real.

Fake Emails Outlook

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) cautions users to be apprehensive of any official-looking e-mail message that solicits for renewing personal or financial data and appeals such email addressees contact the organization to check if the email is legitimate.

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