Phishing (pronounced fishing) is usually an email, often times from a known or trusted source like a bank, trying to get you to divulge personal information. –Like user names, passwords or banking information.
Spear phishing is the same thing but targeting a specific individual.
I’ve seen so much of it that I automatically delete it, but once in a while I see something that looks legit enough to make me pause.
I’m sure you see the same, but sometimes, people don’t recognize it and do something dumb.
For instance, my boss called me about an email apparently from Fedex wanting personal data. I told them to dump it, but I looked at it first and it looked almost real. Fortunately Fedex and UPS have procedures that they follow, so no matter well put together the email is, you can usually decide that it’s a scam because of what they request.
My rule of thumb is that my bank already knows who I am and will ask me to call them or login, In which case I don’t follow links, I go directly to the site to get the correct phone number or login. –Be aware that the email address or the phone number you see may not be the actual site or operator you think you’re calling. –When in doubt, contact the merchant or bank directly.
Also, if you get suckered into calling because of an email or even a phone call, you can expect a hard sell and scare tactics from the person on the other end.
If they ask for confidential information, it’s probably a scam.
If you need to fill out a form, the scammers can collect that data.
If it starts out with a generic dear sir/madam it’s probably not real. Every legit communications I receive lately uses my name as they try to act like they’re my friend.
Always type in any url rather than clicking a link. This way you have a better chance of getting to the real merchant.
If it comes from a bank you don’t recognize it is in all probability a scam.
If you are wondering where these people got your email, well some legitimate site probably sold it.
It comes down to this: If it feels wrong but you’re not sure, contact the merchant or bank directly.
If they want confidential information contact the company directly.
I don’t care if they offer you a bazillion dollars, there is no Nigerian prince.
A credit card company just offered me a phenomenal interest rate, but the price turned out to be my allowing them to sell my information, including name, address, and phone number, and use my name in their advertising.
Just remember that it’s not paranoia, they really are out to get you.