Don’t Get Hooked by the Phishers

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Identity theft via on line means is growing and most people are unaware of it and the damages it can do. The following is information about it and the damages it is doing.

Stay away from those hooks; somebody is always phishing for you and your personal information. Phishing is defined as the act of sending an e-mail to a user falsely claiming to be an established, legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft. The e-mail directs the user to visit a Web site where they are asked to update personal information, such as passwords and credit card, social security, and bank account numbers, that the legitimate organization already has. The website, however, is bogus and set up only to steal the user’s information. Once the phisher has the information, you could become a victim of identity theft.

Phishing was almost unheard of a year ago but now it is a real and present danger. In a 2004 report by Garter Group, it is estimated that 57 million people had received online phishing attacks, costing banks and credit-card issuers over $1.2 billion in 2003 alone.

PC Pro Computer Services,, has seen a big upswing in phishing and other ITD (Internet Transmitted Diseases) and has a very good track record of ridding computers of these ITD’s.

One sure way to tell if the email you received was from someone phishing is by the email asking to validate an account with an establishment that you don’t even do business with. Obviously you are safe here since you have no private information to give. But with the proliferation of this nasty tactic you are likely to come upon a phishing email that claims to come from an establishment that you do business with, Washington Mutual, Capital One, eBay, PayPal. No one is immune from it. You can report phishing emails to the establishment that the emails claim to be from but there is not a lot that they can do about it. Spending time tracking these villains down is not really worth the time. Many of these emails come from off shore email servers so prosecution would not even be possible.

Be suspicious of any email asking you to verify private data such as a passwords and credit card numbers. For more information on phishing other computer tips visit


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Bruce Cramer
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