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Phishing is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords, credit card details, by pretending to be someone trustworthy.
Typically done through emails & texts, phishing often directs users to enter personal information on a fake website that look and feel like the legitimate site.
You often see phishing emails that pretend to be your bank, social media, streaming services, online stores (Amazon, Ebay, etc…).
The message often tells a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. They include things like:
There are various types of phishing that can be more sophisticated. They all have the same goal, to trick you into giving sensitive information.
Spear phishing – This is when the phishing attempt is direct to a specific person or company.
Whaling – Another phishing attempt to a specific person, but specifically at senior executives and other high-profile targets.
Catphishing – Is an online deception that involves getting to know someone closely in order to gain access to information.
Clone phishing – This is where someone gets access or sees your email, then makes an almost identical copy pretending to be from the same person. They claim to be responding or continuing a email conversation, but are trying to trick you into giving information.
Voice phishing or vishing – When you get a voicemail claiming to be from your bank. The message tells you to dial a phone number in regard to problems with your account. Once you dial this number, you are prompted to enter your account and PIN.
SMS phishing or smishing – Is where a text message is sent to your phone, where the message uses one of the methods above to trick you into giving out your personal information.
First example is of an email that tries to appear to be coming from the Administrator of your company or email service.
Second example is trying to impersonate Microsoft’s email service.
Third example is using cryptic text, so that to make it less likely to be flagged as SPAM or Junk.
Learn to recognize phishing scams
If you think a scammer has your information, like your social security, credit card, or bank account number, go to IdentityTheft.gov. There you’ll see the specific steps to take based on the information you lost.
You can report phishing attacks to the FTC at reportfraud.ftc.gov. Click on the Report Now button to start the process.