Phishing is a way hackers “fish for” (or try to get) your usernames, passwords or credit card details. They do this by pretending to be a service, company or person you trust like your bank or FedEx or Facebook. Hackers are people who make money by stealing your personal information on the internet.
Phishing is usually done by email or through text messages. The message will ask you to click a link or visit a website to update your password or other personal information, like your credit card number. These websites are designed to look exactly like a site you trust, like your bank or Facebook. But they are actually fake. If you enter your information on a site like this, it will be stolen and could be used without you agreeing to it.
Here are some tips to help you identify a phishing email or message:
- Double-check the greeting: If the email starts with: “Dear Valued Customer” or “Dear Valued Member”, it is probably a fake. Most websites like Facebook, PayPal, or your bank will only address you by your real name or your username.
- Double-check the URL: If the link you click takes you to a site that looks real, double check the address in the browser’s address bar. If it’s not a legitimate site name (like facebook.com, or scotiabank.com) it is probably a fake.
- Know your bank’s rules: Many banks say that they “will never ask you to verify your account, or enter highly personal information by email or online.” If you know this is your bank’s policy, then you know any emails you receive asking for your information are probably fake. If in doubt, call your bank and ask or get someone to help you do that.
A lot of damage could be done if your password or credit card number falls into the wrong hands. If you’re worried that you or someone you love may have accidentally given away your password or other personal information, you should reset your email address and password. Or ask a friend or loved one for help. Always remember: Don’t click to quick! And remember to change your passwords often.
If you think this post is important, please email, post or tweet it to your friends and family. Let’s help each other stay safe! For more, visit us on Facebook at facebook.com/safeonlineCLBC