Avoid Phishing Scams
idtheftquiz.org Article copyright 2012
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The 2007 statistics on phishing and ID theft are out and the news isn’t good.
$3.2 billion was lost to phishing and ID theft. More than 40 percent of Americans – 124 million -- either know or suspect that they’ve received a phishing email.
And 3.2 percent of those lost money as a result.
The numbers are courtesy of Gartner, Inc., a worldwide leader in IT research
voiding phishing scams and protecting your ID
Though the threat and potential for ID theft is significant, protecting yourself from phishing scams is simple.
Check the sender’s address, and make sure it’s authentic.
Look at the greeting. If Visa is sending you an email, they know your name, and aren’t going to greet you with Dear Prospective Visa Cardholder, or Dear Customer.
Don’t be fooled by authentic looking graphics or logos. It’s pretty simple to cut and paste these from legitimate websites.
Spelling or grammar errors are another sign that the email is bogus.
Don’t fall for the request for account information. The request may come in the form of “we’re doing some account maintenance,” or “we’ve received suspicious charges.”
Don’t open any attachments or click on any links in the email. Immediately close the email and go to the legitimate web source, or call your credit card company or financial institution and report the email.
The first step to protecting your identity online is selecting a password that will be impossible or difficult for phishers to crack.
- Never use your name or any derivative of it in your password.
- Steer clear of the obvious like your birth date or mother’s maiden name.
- Mix in numbers, capital and lower case letters, and characters.
- Base your password on something that will be easy for you to remember. For instance, “Never call me late for dinner” becomes “NvrclMEL84dnr!” or “I hate tailgaters too” could be used as “iH8Talg8r$2.”
- Every spring and fall when you reset your clocks and change your smoke alarms batteries, change your passwords.
- Don’t keep your passwords in an obvious location, like taped under your keyboard.
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