Phishing – A computer crime

Friends,

Today got another email saying that I had won $100,000,000 in a randomly selected email accounts on the web. I was asked to submit a lot of personal details in order to collect my prize money.Earlier on receiving a similar email I was taken in (groan..!) and supplied the details and never heard from those guys again.

This time , I was a little more educated and knew that this was a case of phishing.

Friends , here’s some details on phishing .Hope you’ll benefit from it.

Phishing or Carding or Brand Spoofing is a term used to ‘fish’ for ‘users’ financial information or passwords.

Phishing is a computer crime in which phishers fraudently acquire sensitive information like credit card details and passwords.Phishing is carried out using fake emails or instant messages, where the phisher masquerades as a trustworthy person or business like a bank or an online organization such as eBay or PayPal.

The fake email directs the user to a bogus Website ( set up to steal the user’s information) where the user is asked personal information such as passwords, credit card details, social security nos.and bank account numbers. The messages look quite authentic, featuring corporate logos and formats similar to those of the legitimate messages.

How to identify phishing messages.

1. Emails containing spelling mistakes or bad grammar.
2. Lack of personal greeting.
3. Misspelled URLs or the presence of subdomains.
4. The presence of ‘@’ symbol in the URL. Most browsers  tend to
   ignore all characters preceding the @ symbol.So a web address
   http://www.PayPal.com@mysite.com may look like a page of 
   PayPal but will take you to mysite.com
5. Presence of an IP address in the link.

How to avoid getting phished.

* Do not reply to emails or pop-up messages asking for personal
  info. Do not click on the link in that message too.
* Use updated anti-virus software and a firewall. The anti-virus will
  protect you from accepting unwanted files containing software can
  harm your computer or track your activities on the Internet without
  your knowledge.
  A fire-wall will make you invisible on the internet and block all
  communications from anauthorized sources.
* Do not email personal or financial information.
* Regardless of who sends them, be cautious of opening any 
  attachment or downloading any files from emails.
* Look for the ‘lock’ icon on the browser’s status bar for secure
  website.
* Install anti phishing software . It can be got for free at
  www.Gralicwrap.com
* Review credit card and bank statements as soon as you receive them
  and check for anauthorized charges.

Last but not the least, forward emails phishing for information to
spam@uce.gov and to the company, bank or organization which is being impersonated. Also, file your complaint at www.ftc.gov if you believe that you’ve been scammed . Remember, victims of phishing can become victims of identity thefts.

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