Phishing is another name for a type of Internet fraud. It is an email or pop up ad that looks like it is a business you know and trust, but isn’t. The offending company will use the logo of your bank or a vendor and find a reason to ask you to confirm important details, such as a credit card or bank account number.
Two people I know have been “phished” in the last two weeks. Both times it was an email message that looks as if it comes from US Bank. The messages have looked pretty authentic. Each time the message said there was a security issue with the account and that the recipient needed to provide/confirm bank information through the web sit – immediately. One recipient was not even a US Bank customer.
So, what can you do?
Beware of anyone asking for confidential information. If a bank has an issue – they will call you; they won’t use email. (Now, telephone fraud is another issue – but the advice is the same – beware.) Try to use an alternative means to contact the organization if you have further doubts. Finally, never give private data via email; it’s just not safe. For more information, check out the FTC consumer alert on phishing.
Added note on earlier Byte – Microsoft Settlement:
Marit in Minneapolis wisely suggested that Minnesota Microsoft users might want to donate their Microsoft settlement vouchers to a nonprofit organization. You can learn more by checking out the settlement page.