Using the internet is becoming a daily habit for many people. The internet provides an incredible medium through which to communicate with others as well as to conduct business and research. Unfortunately this provides unscrupulous people with a means of stealing personal information.
Basic Advise for Parents
- Computers should be situated in a “public” place in the household, children should not have computers in their bedrooms nor be allowed to “surf” the internet unsupervised.
- Talk with your children about appropriate use of the internet
- They should never reveal personal information online
- Install and maintain filtering software/security software on your computers and home network
The act of sending an email to a user falsely claiming to be an established legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft.
The email directs the user to visit a Web site where they are asked to update personal information, such as passwords and credit card, social security, and bank account numbers, that the legitimate organization already has. The website, however, is bogus and set up only to steal the user’s information.
About Phishing Scams
“Phishing” scams typically involve phony e-mails that pretend to come from well-known organizations and include links to authentic-looking, but fake Web pages that reassure you that everything will be fine if you just provide some information, such as your password or your social security number.
In this latest phishing scam, hackers have learned how to take advantage of a poorly configured Web site feature called an “open redirect” that allowed them to launch their scam using altered links from within an actual Web site operated by the U.S. Government. According to CNET News, the Web sites of Microsoft’s MSN and Yahoo! have also fallen prey to this type of scam.
Protection From Phishing Scams
To help protect you from similar, online phishing scams, here are a few tips to keep in mind the next time you receive an official-looking e-mail asking you for your personal information:
- Most companies never send unsolicited e-mails requesting any confidential or sensitive information.
- Company Web sites, even elaborate ones, can be very easily faked. If you do click on a link in an email, always closely examine the address of the Web site you are directed to—if it looks suspicious, it’s very possible it is not a legitimate site.
- If you have concerns or suspicions about an e-mail you’ve received, call or e-mail the company’s customer service organization to verify that it is something they sent out.
- Treat phishing e-mails with the same care you would a virus, and delete them immediately.
The bottom line : Never give any confidential information in response to any unsolicited e-mail, no matter how official it looks. Appearances can be deceiving—and dangerous.