Phishing is a common start to many scams. Phishing occurs when you respond to an email that appears to be from a legitimate company with which you do business only to learn that the official looking communication was a counterfeit, the sole purpose of which was to lure you into clicking on a link that in turn either, unknown to you, downloaded a keystroke logging malware program on to your computer by which the scammer is able to steal all of the information from your computer and use that information to make you a victim of identity theft or to lure you into providing personal information that also is used to make you a victim of identity theft. Many large scale scams, including the Target hacking often start when employees are victimized by phishing scams that in turn give the scammers access to the information in their companies’ computers.
A recent phishing scam that is going on at this time involves a phony email that appears to be from Apple telling the victim that his or her iTunes account has been improperly accessed and that the account is now locked. In order to access the account the victim is told, he or she is required to provide information that ends up being used to make the phishing victim a victim of identity theft as well.
Remember my motto, “Trust me, you can’t trust anyone.” Never provide information in response to an email, text message or telephone call you receive unless you have absolutely confirmed that the communication to you is legitimate and there is a legitimate need for providing that information. If you receive such an email, do not click on any links contained within it, but rather call the company at a telephone number that you know is accurate to find out whether or not the original communication to you is legitimate or not.