Phishing Awareness

Document created by RSA Admin Employee on Sep 20, 2012
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How to Avoid Phishing Scams?

 

  • Be suspicious of any email with urgent requests for personal financial information
    • unless the email is digitally signed, you can't be sure it wasn't forged or 'spoofed'
    • phishers typically include upsetting or exciting (but false) statements in their emails to get people to react immediately
    • they typically ask for information such as usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers, date of birth, etc.
    • phisher emails are typically NOT personalized, but they can be. Valid messages from your bank or e-commerce company generally are personalized, but always call to check if you are unsure
  • Don't use the links in an email, instant message, or chat to get to any web page if you suspect the message might not be authentic or you don't know the sender or user's handle
    • instead, call the company on the telephone, or log onto the website directly by typing in the Web adress in your browser
  • Avoid filling out forms in email messages that ask for personal financial information
    • you should only communicate information such as credit card numbers or account information via a secure website or the telephone
  • Always ensure that you're using a secure website when submitting credit card or other sensitive information via your Web browser
    • Phishers are now able to 'spoof,' or forge BOTH the "https://" that you normally see when you're on a secure Web server AND a legitimate-looking address.  You may even see both in the link of a scam email.  Again, make it a habit to enter the address of any banking, shopping, auction, or financial transaction website yourself and not depend on displayed links.
    • Phishers may also forge the yellow lock you would normally see near the bottom of your screen on a secure site.  The lock has usually been considered as another indicator that you are on a 'safe' site.  The lock, when double-clicked, displays the security certificate for the site.  If you get any warnings displayed that the address of the site you have displayed does NOT match the certificate, do not continue.
  • Remember not all scam sites will try to show the "https://" and/or the security lock.  Get in the habit of looking at the address line, too.  Were you directed to PayPal?  Does the address line display something different like "http://www.gotyouscammed.com/paypal/login.htm?"  Be aware of where you are going.
  • Consider installing a Web browser tool bar to help protect you from known fraudulent websites. These toolbars match where you are going with lists of known phisher Web sites and will alert you.

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