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HOW TO

Cyber Crooks Go Phishing
By: Developer Shed
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    2004-06-19

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    Cyber Crooks Go Phishing
    by Jim Edwards

    Phishing, the latest craze among online evil-doers, has
    nothing to do with sitting at the end of a dock on a sunny
    afternoon dangling a worm to entice hungry catfish.

    But, if you take their bait, this new breed of online con
    artist will hook you, reel you in, and take you for every
    dollar you have... or worse.

    "Phishing" describes a combination of techniques used by
    cyber crooks to bait people into giving up sensitive
    personal data such as credit card numbers, social security
    numbers, bank account numbers, dates of birth and more.

    Their techniques work so well that, according to
    FraudWatchInternational.com, "phishing" rates as the
    fastest growing scam on the Internet.

    Here's the basic pattern for a "phishing" scam...

    You receive a very official email that appears to originate
    from a legitimate source, such as a bank, eBay, PayPal,
    a major retailer, or some other well known entity.

    In the email it tells you that something bad is about to
    happen unless you act quickly.

    Typically it tells you that your account is about to get
    closed, that someone appears to have stolen your identity,
    or even that someone opened a fraudulent account using your
    name.

    In order to help straighten everything out, you need to
    click a link in the email and provide some basic account
    information so they can verify your identity and then give
    you additional details so you can help get everything
    cleared up.

    Once you give up your information... it's all over but the
    crying!

    After getting your information, these cyber-bandits can
    empty your bank accounts, deplete your PayPal accounts, run
    up your credit card balances, open new credit accounts,
    assume your identity and much worse.

    An especially disturbing new variation of this scam
    specifically targets online business owners and affiliate
    marketers.

    In this con, the scammer's email informs you that they've
    just sent $1,219.43 (or a similar big but believable
    amount) in affiliate commissions to you via PayPal.

    They need you to log into your PayPal account to verify
    receipt of the money and then email them back to confirm
    you got it.

    Since you're so excited at the possibility of an unexpected
    pay day, you click the link to go to PayPal, log in, and
    BANG! They have your PayPal login information and can empty
    your account.

    This new "phishing" style scam works extremely well for 2
    basic reasons.

    First, by exploiting your sense of urgency created by fear
    or greed, crooks get you to click the link and give them
    your information without thinking.

    Second, the scammers use a variety of cloaking and spoofing
    techniques to make their emails and websites appear totally
    legitimate, making it extremely hard to spot a fake website,
    especially when they've first whipped you into an emotional
    frenzy.

    The good news, however, is that you can protect yourself
    relatively easily against this type of cyber-crime with
    basic software and common sense.

    Most of these scams get delivered to you via Spam
    (unsolicited email), so a good spam blocker will cut down
    on many of them even making it to your inbox.

    If you receive an email that looks legitimate and you want
    to respond, Stop - Wait - Think!

    Verify all phone numbers with a physical phone book or
    online phone directory like www.Verizon.com or
    www.ATT.com/directory/ before calling.

    Look for spelling and grammatical errors that make it look
    like someone who doesn't speak English or your native
    language very well wrote it.

    Never click the link provided in the email, but go directly
    to the website by typing in the main address of the site
    yourself (example: www.paypal.com or www.ebay.com).

    Forward the email to the main email address of the website
    (example: support@paypal.com) or call the customer service
    number on the main website you typed in yourself and ask if
    it is in fact legitimate.

    Above all remember this:

    Your bank, credit card company, PayPal, eBay and anyone
    else you deal with online already knows your account
    number, username, password or any other account specific
    information.

    They don't need to email you for ANY reason to ask you to
    confirm your information -- so NEVER respond to email
    requests for your account or personal details.

    -- Jim Edwards is a syndicated newspaper columnist and the
    co-author of an amazing new ebook that will teach you how
    to use fr-e articles to quickly drive thousands of targeted
    visitors to your website or affiliate links...
    http://www.TurnWordsIntoTraffic.com

    DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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