Phishing is the attempt to illegally obtain sensitive information such as username, password, and credit card information by pretending to be a trustworthy entity through your email or on the Internet.
Many of us might have received an email saying our account has been temporarily frozen. All we need to do is log into our account and prove our identity by adding our credit card information, as if logging in was not proof enough. If we follow through, we not only have our username and password stolen but they now also have our credit card information.
So how do we protect ourselves?
The number one rule is never reply to the inquiry. Call your company (entity) involved and inform yourself through the proper channels whether there has been a problem. If you’re going on line to visit, let’s say your bank, make sure the URL is accurate and you are protected with the certificate indicated by the “s” that follows the “http,” also have the lock closed to indicate you’re on a secure connection.
Please note that this alone is not a guarantee that it’s the real website of your entity. So what can you do?
Try this fun and simple trick.
In the user box, randomly hit any key on your keyboard and then do the same in the password box. If you are brought to the next step and usually they will ask for your credit card information, you know you are on a phishing site.
For example, when I hit the keyboard the following resulted.
Now let’s be honest, what are the odds that someone really has this username and password?
Final step is to report the site.
For more information see this interesting and simple to understand Reader’s Digest article, 10 ways to protect yourself online.