Tips on Preventing Becoming the Victim of the Latest Online Identity Theft Scam – Phishing

Nov 8 22:00 2004 Steven Presar Print This Article

Millions of people are becoming victims of identity theft. In many cases they are becoming victims all too often by freely ... personal ... online. Email ... scams seek to lure in

Millions of people are becoming victims of identity theft. In many cases they are becoming victims all too often by freely providing personal information online. Email 'phishing' scams seek to lure individuals into phony online sites where they can be fooled into sharing the personal information needed for a thief to steal their identities.

Scammers send emails imitating a legitimate website and ask for personal or financial information that they use to commit credit-card or bank fraud or other types of identity theft.

Generally,Guest Posting a phishing scam works like this – you receive an urgent email requests from a bank or other financial institution. The scammers may be using your bank’s or credit card’s name. The email note will ask you to click on a link provided to go to one of a scammer’s official looking websites. At their website you are ask to share or confirm some personal information. Though it looks like you are at your bank's website, you are at a scammer's website where any information that you share could be used to steal your identity,

These scams are increasingly common and difficult to detect but you can reduce the likelihood of this type of online identity theft happening to you if you follow some simple rules.

~ Be suspicious of urgent requests for personal financial information sent to you by email. As a general rule -- never directly respond to email asking for personal information.

~ Don't give out more information than necessary for an online transaction. Legitimate businesses ask for more than they need for there own marketing purposes. You do not have to provide more information than you feel is necessary to complete the transaction.

~ If asked for personal information online at a website or via email, never click on a link that goes to a new unfamiliar website. If needed, search for the financial institution’s or company's website via your search engine and then navigate from there.

~ Do not click on program files or attachments in your email in-basket unless you are sure of their source. Why was it sent to you and do you know the sender?

~ Never send personal financial information by return email. If your financial institution requests this information via email, go to the institution's secure website and enter it there.

~ Be sure that you are using a secure website whenever you enter any personal financial data on the web. If you are in doubt, when prompted for a password, give an incorrect one first. A scammer’s phishing site will accept it; a legitimate website will not.

~ Keep your computer anti-virus and anti-junk email prevention software up to date.

~ Use "anti-spyware" programs if you have a tendency to download a lot of free Internet programs, games, music, screen savers, etc.

~ Before doing business online, check into a company’s privacy policies the same way you check their return and other policies. They may be attaching you to their website only to sell your email address to scammers.

~ Question email messages from any official sounding financial institution. You can always verify their contact, by contacting the institution itself. When in doubt, use your telephone and not your mouse. A quick call can determine if an email request was legitimate.

~ Stay alert to your own financial status. Carefully check your banking, credit card and other statements regularly.

~ Closely monitor your credit history to ensure that all transactions in my name and under your credit card number are legitimate.

~ Consider signing-up for a personal credit monitoring services.

~ Install firewall software on your computer or a firewall in your network router.

~ Use a password to protect your wireless networks.

~ Avoid storing sensitive data on all laptop computers. Wireless laptop computers are particularly vulnerable and should always have security passwords and firewalls in place. Use encryption products to secure the data on all computers.

~ Pay attention to your children's online usage. Children like to download free games, screensavers, etc. and may share more information then they should to get it.

~ Protect your paper. Shred anything with personally identifying information on it before tossing it out.

~ Choose carefully where and when to opt-in to mailing lists, promotions, or other freebies. If in doubt, post a “throw-away” email address (one you do not use as your main email address) or your email address scripted (i.e. – yournameatprovider.com).

~ Only opt-in to promotions or deals after checking what will be done with the information that you provide.



Websites That You Can Trust To Help

•Ad-Aware (www.lavasoftusa.com)
•Spybot (www.security.kolla.de)
•CWshredder (www.spywareinfo.com/merijn/index.html)
•WinTask, Manages Resources and Improves Security (www.onlinesoftwareguide.com/wintask)
•download of Ad-aware and Spybot Search & Destroy (www.download.com)
•Spyware information tools, tips, and vendor for Trend Micro software (www.housecall.trendmicro.com)
•McAfee anti-virus and anti-spyware software (www.mcafee.com)
•Windows security patches and spyware protection information (www.microsoft.com/athome/security/viruses)
•Virus and spyware scans (www.pcpitstop.com)
•Lists software that may spread spyware (www.spywarewarrior.com/rogue_anti-spyware.htm)
•Norton spyware information (www.symantec.com/avcenter/)
•Spy Sweeper anti-spyware (www.webroot.com)
•Zonelabs firewall (www.zonelabs.com)

If you're victimized, place a fraud alert on your credit file at the major credit bureaus:

Equifax, [800] 525-6285
Experian, [888] 397-3742
TransUnion, [800] 680-7289

You may also request to view your credit reports for fraudulent activity.

Lastly, if you are a victim of fraudulent activity, online or off, file a police report so that it is on record and keep a report copy as proof.

Copyright Steven Presar

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Steven Presar
Steven Presar

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