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Understanding Phishing

What Is Phishing?

Phishing is an attempt to trick someone into giving away personal information using the Internet by pretending to be a well-known company or organisation.

For example, a typical phishing technique involves e-mailing people and pretending to be a bank, and asking the recipients to enter their bank details.

According to the International Anti-Phishing Working Group, phishers are able to convince up to 5% of their targets to give them personal information. Other studies indicate that phising scams are 20% to 23% successful at obtaining personal data from unsuspecting public!

How To Avoid Phishing

Normally you can avoid being "phished" by following three simple steps:

  1. Be suspicious of any e-mail with urgent requests for personal financial information.
  2. Do not click on links in an e-mail to go to a web page. Type in the web address by hand into your web browser.
  3. If you are in any doubt about a possible phishing attack, ring the company that the e-mail claims to be from at a number you already have (do not use any numbers given in the e-mail).
However, the Fair Trade Authority has developed a sophisticated Phishing Detector which tells you if an email pretending to come from you bank, PayPal, eBay, eGold and many financial institutions is genuine or phishing. This little piece of software recognizes 99% of phishing emails and gives you peace of mind about online identity theft. You can read more about it and download it for free, visiting the Phishing Detector Center.

How To Report Phishing

If you think you have been caught by a phishing attack, contact either of these two organisations:

  • The company that the e-mail claims to be from at a number you already have (do not use any numbers given in the e-mail).
  • Your local authorities.
or email us at phishing@fairtradeauthority.com (Keep in mind that SPAM will not be tolerated).

Below you can find a list of useful links to common phishing scams, with email samples.

Type of Resource
Description
MillerSmiles.com Identity Theft
A great, exhaustive, updated library of phishing scams with sample emails. Recommended.
eBay Spoof Tutorial
A detailed tutorial about eBay phishing scams directly written by the famous auction company.
PayPal Phishing
How to recognize a phishing email, for PayPal users, and how to protect yourself and your identity.
Phishing White paper
A very well written guide about different phishing techniques. PDF document.

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