Phishing - Tips to Safeguard Your Money Sgainst Phishing

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Phishing is an e-mail fraud method in which the perpetrator sends out legitimate-looking email in an attempt to gather personal and financial information from recipients - as WhatIs.com puts it.

With more and more people resorting to online financial transactions, Phishing poses serious problem. Millions of dollars were lost in US and UK alone by the end of 2007 - reminding that none of us are insulated. But with some awareness and common sense, we can detect and avoid Phishing. In this article, I will discuss some hints, to protect yourself against Phishing Attacks.

1. Never reveal your Online Banking Account Username/Password

Never ever do this! Some Phishing emails claim to have originated from your Bank and requesting you for the online banking account details. Never respond to these emails. If it appears genuine, contact your Bank directly and try to get more details. Phone phishing is another form, where the user is requested for sensitive information over phone. Be aware of this and make sure you don't fall prey.

2. Do not click on any Bank Transaction related links, from Emails

Some Phishing emails requests the user to click on a link and Navigate to the Bank site. The site where the user lands might exactly look like your Bank's Home page - but there is a very good chance that it is a fake site. Check the URL of the site; the attacker might have carefully tweaked the URL to match with that of your bank. Presence of SSL security ("https" as part of the URL) does not alone make sure that the site is genuine. Also, some links may appear real on email, but on clicking them the user might be taken to a fake site (a.k.a., cross site scripting). So the lesson is - never click on a link in an email for financial transactions or navigating to your Bank site.

3. Use a quality browser that has the intelligence to detect Phishing sites

I would strongly recommend FireFox. FireFox can identify many fake sites and report Phishing. Also an extension like Petname might be useful, when using some of your favorite Financial transaction sites.

4. Periodically Change your Online Bank Account Password

Make sure that you periodically change your Online Bank Account Password. Make the password strong enough by following the Password policy of your bank. Also, make sure to check the balance often, so that you don't have hidden surprises.

As I said, awareness and common sense can make life a lot difficult for the Phishers. After all, it is your hard earned money and it is your responsibility to protect it.

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