Phishing – What Is It and How To Protect Yourself

Phishing - What Is It and How To Protect YourselfYesterday I received my first Phishing e-mail!
For those of you who don’t know, “Phishing is an online con game with phishers acting as tech-savvy con artists and identity thieves.”

By: Natasha Morgan


I had read about it and heard from friends who had experienced it, but until then didn’t know how it felt to become a target for identity theft. Each time I read the message, I got a sinking feeling in my stomach and questions arose:

    • How did they get my e-mail address?
    • Did they know which bank I dealt with or was it a lucky guess?
    • Have they tried to access my accounts?
    • How much do they already know about me?

I knew not to respond to spam because it only validates that you are a person so I didn’t click on any of the links. Further more, I was NOT going to give out any financial information by e-mail. Banks have repeatedly warned customers not to fall for phishing and to report any incidences.

I called the bank and read the entire message to the representative. She seemed sympathetic and recommended that I purchase a “protection package”. It occurred to me that a bank should be protecting me as part of their service and not making money on my possible misfortune. She then, changed my online access ID and password which I suppose will help until the next time.

What astounded me most was that the bank was not interested in the content of the message and had no plans to investigate it. They reason that “our bank is very secure”! Obviously, records on phising are not kept and the attempted fraud is not reported to the authorities.

Just so you’ll recognize a phishing message, I’ve included mine below. You may receive one slightly different but the intent is the same. Garner information about you.

To further protect yourself, I suggest you read:

The Five Don’ts of Phishing Fraud

My Phishing Message:

“BankOfAmerica Alert” <> (Add as Preferred Sender) ?
Date: Thu, Aug 28, 2008 8:26 pm
To: undisclosed-recipients: ;

Subject:  Bankofamerica Alert: Restore Your account.

Need additional up to the minute account information? Sign in>>
Dear Valued Customer :

We recently have determined that different computers have logged in your Bank of America Online Banking account, and multiple password failures were present before the logons. We now need you to re-confirm your account information to us. If this is not completed by September 2, 2008, we will be forced to suspend your account indefinitely, as it may have been used for fraudulent purposes. We thank you for your cooperation in this manner. In order to confirm your Online Bank records, we may require some specific information from you.

To restore your account, please Sign in to Online Banking.

Your account might be place on restricted status. Restricted accounts continue to receive payments, but they are limited in their ability to send or withdraw funds. To lift up this restriction, you need to login into your account (with your username or SSN and your password), then you have to complete our verification process. You must confirm your credit card details and your billing information as well. All restricted accounts have their billing information unconfirmed, meaning that you may no longer send money from your account until you have reactive your billing information on file. Sign in to Online Banking
Thank You.

Please do not reply to this message. If you have any questions about the information in this e-Bill, please contact your biller. For all other questions, call us at 800-887-5749.

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lenderaa
2008 Bank of America Corporation. All rights reserved


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