What is it?
Phishing is a technique used by scammers to obtain personal information (password, credit card number, date of birth, etc.) in order to steal the identity of their victim.
Why is it a source of danger?
A phishing email will ask you to open an attachment or click on a link to go to a company website that will trick you into providing personal information. You might also receive emails that seem to come from your bank and that ask you to provide your account number and password. When you click on the link, you will be taken to a site that looks identical to the one you usually visit, but all the information that you enter there will fall into the hands of scammers.
The wording of phishing emails is often alarming and will pressure you to act quickly. For example: “Important message,” “Urgent,” “Alert,” etc.
This technique is used by scammers to emotionally upset victims to the point where they willingly provide their personal information.
However, you should know that banks, the police, and most businesses do not communicate with their clients by email and do not ask for personal information by phone.
How can I protect myself?
- Never respond to this type of email. If you receive a phone call asking for such information, hang up and find the telephone number of the company yourself in order to call the company back.
- Do not click on links that are sent to you, do not open attached files and do not give out personal information. Keep your anti-spam and anti-virus software up to date as well as your operating system.
- If you need to perform transactions electronically online, make sure that the site is trustworthy.
- Web browsers usually provide a visual indication of whether a website is trustworthy, such as a green padlock symbol located to the left of the web address or in the lower right-hand corner of the browser window. This indicator ensures that any personal information provided there will be secure. The address of the website must begin with “https://.” The “s” stands for “secure” since any data transmitted there will be encrypted.