Today, we’re trying something a little different here on Tech Thoughts – with the help of guest writer Gavin Whittaker, we’re sending you back to school! Gavin has written an impressive series of ten articles, all designed to help you navigate the Internet in safety.
We’ll present each of Gavin’s highly informative articles, over the course of the next ten days.
Here’s the first installment of the www.speeddemonit.co.uk guide to:
Protect Yourself from Fraud
Highlight the Common Internet Scams
Give You the Knowledge & Confidence to Avoid these Online Scams
Today we focus on Phishing:
Phishing is the process of receiving unsolicited emails (spam) that request you click a link to confirm:
Your bank details
You wish to receive a tax refund
Or to access your PayPal account
I’m sure you’ve seen other variations too….the list is growing rapidly.
This ‘phishing’ technique is common and people fall victim to it every day. The email is formatted to look official and until you click one of the links within the email you’re safe. Upon clicking a link you’ll be directed to a web site that again has been carefully crafted to look like the login page of the official site.
What NOT to do
TIP: Never visit a bank or payment service by clicking a link in an email
If the user follows the phishing email link and enters their security details into the erroneous site, the usual trick is to display a login error message before the user is unknowingly sent to the official site to login for a 2nd time. This leaves them none the wiser that their login details have now been stolen by a criminal.
Now that the fraudsters have the users details they can login to the official site as the user and commit fraud!
Millions of pounds from global users are stolen every year through phishing.
IMPORTANT: Banks often consider losses arising from phishing emails to be the fault of the user and therefore will not refund the lost money!
What to do
Although spam and junk filters can typically detect a phishing email the only surefire way to protect yourself is to never provide personal information in response to an unsolicited email. If the email really does look convincing, do not click any links in the email but instead go directly to the organizations web page to login and check your account.
There are tools built into leading Internet browsers nowadays to help prevent phishing, however human logic, awareness and common sense prevail every time.
Tune in tomorrow for Part 2 – Social Networking – Avoiding Internet Fraud for Beginners.
Guest writer Gavin Whittaker is an IT Author, Consultant and Trainer, and a Member of the Technology Channels Association.
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