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"Phishing", Don't Become A Victim!

www.michaelvallez.com

About two months ago I was minding my own business blogging when I received an email from PayPal, or at least I thought it was from PayPal. The email looked completely authentic down to the crappy little copyright information at the bottom of the email. The email was what appeared to be an official communication from PayPal that my account had been charged over $400.00. My heart was racing because I did not pay anyone $400. I immediately called PayPal, to plead my case and they told me nothing was wrong, no charges had been made to my account and not to worry about this. They told me to email this to my internet hosting company. Kind of silly since the email looked official and from PayPal. Someone attempted to get information from me by “Phishing” or “spoofing.”
But what in the world do these terms mean, they sound more like words from a children’s book or game. Phishing is when someone tries to get critical information from you through a bogus pop-up or fraudulent email. They will indicate in either form of communication that you need to provide your account information, pin code, etc or some dire consequences will occur. Spoofing, similarly is when someone sets up a false website to mimic an official website or a false email with the same intent. Again, in spoofing the goal is to get the victim to provide critical account information or personal information to be used to commit financial crimes against the victim.
I am on Twitter everyday, throughout the day and I am sad to say, but I do not usually use my “Direct Message” function anymore due to the incessant phishing attempts. Typically, there is a very short teaser “Direct Message” that will try to lure you into their trap. I just don’t even respond to DM’s anymore because of this. Just today I saw a message from a woman who had her Twitter account hacked through a successful “Phishing” attempt through her DM. In this case the scumbags only hacked into her account and caused an inconvenience for the victim. But, mark my words the people trying to get your information through “Phishing” and “Spoofing” are trying to get data for identity theft, credit card fraud, etc. They are relentless and they will not give up, so if you feel the hair on your neck go up when you are about to click a link in an email, then don’t delete the email. If the email is that important you will get a phone call from your bank, credit card company, etc to get the correct information.
Here are some tips to avoid becoming a victim of “Phishing” and “Spoofing”, take caution and be careful. Over the next few years there will most likely be a huge spike in traditional known fraud such as these methods as well as new out of the box fraud ideas. Why? Because there are more and more people joining social networks and providing email addresses and personal information. Unfortunately criminals are opportunistic and this gives them information to work with in their criminal endeavors.
By the way, I have since received about 6 false PayPal emails each instructs me to do the same thing, provide them with key account information. The most important thing to remember about this article is no bank, credit card company, etc will ask you to provide critical information such as passwords or pin numbers, bottom line. Be vigilant, be careful.

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