Beware Fraudulent E-Mails and Web Sites
“Phishing” is a rampant Internet scam that relies on “spoofed” e-mails, purportedly from well known firms, to lure individuals to fraudulent Web sites that look and feel like the well known firm’s Web site.
At such Web sites, victims are asked to provide personal information about themselves, such as their name, address and credit card number.
These fraudulent e-mails and Web sites may also try to install malicious software on your computer that monitors your activities and sends sensitive personal information (your passwords, for example) to a remote location.
With that information, criminals can commit identity theft, credit card fraud and other crimes.
You can protect yourself by following these best practices when using the Internet:
- Be aware that e-mail is insecure and easy to forge. E-mail that appears to be from a friend or company you do business with may be fraudulent and designed to trick you into providing personal information about yourself or installing dangerous software.
- Do not respond to e-mails or pop-up messages that solicit your personal information: name, address, Social Security number, etc.
- Only access trusted Web sites that you found other than by clicking on a Web site address in an e-mail and then added to your browser’s bookmarks.
Otherwise, manually type the address into your browser and then bookmark it. When you receive an e-mail, rather than clicking on a Web site address in the e-mail, which can bring you to a fraudulent site, use the bookmark to access that site.
Personal Computer Security Tips
No security practice is foolproof. You can, however, help protect yourself by following these best practices to secure your personal computer:
- Install antivirus and anti-spyware software on your computer and make sure it is up to date with the most recent virus/spyware signatures.
- Make sure your computer is up to date with the most recent software patches. Patches are software updates that often address software vulnerabilities that phishing scams and viruses exploit.
- Install a firewall between your computer and the Internet. A firewall is software or hardware that acts as a buffer between your computer and the Internet that limits access to your computer and blocks communications from unauthorized sources.
Please contact the manufacturer of your computer for additional information and recommendations.
- URL: Abbreviation of Uniform Resource Locator, the global address of documents and other resources on the World Wide Web.
- Spoof: To fool. In networking, the term is used to describe a variety of ways in which hardware and software can be fooled. IP spoofing, for example, involves trickery that makes a message appear as if it came from an authorized IP address (the numerical identifier for a computer).