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How To Stay Safe From Phishing Smishing and Online Scams

How To Stay Safe From Phishing Smishing and Online Scams
Posted by Dexter Nelson: Thursday, December 2, 2010 (9:18 AM)

How To Stay Safe From Phishing Smishing and Online Scams


Last Cyber Monday was one of the highest reported online shopping day in Internet history, and as the shopping continues to rise online, so do the predators.


You've heard of Phishing, but have you heard of Smishing?


Most of us know what phishing is. According to legislation, it refers to a person or cyber criminals who create imitations or copies of existing legitimate web pages to trick users into providing sensitive personal information.


They are usually accompanied by spam email and responding to these "phishing" emails can put your identity and bank accounts at risk.


But have you heard of smishing?


Smishing is the same type of scam, but you get a text or SMS message, (that's where you get the name). Usually you get it with a number and it says to please call, that there is an issue with your order. After you call the number, the cycle begins by asking for your credit card information, or asking you to verify certain information.


Here are some stay safe tips that applies to not just the holiday season, but all year long.


  1. When you receive texts and SMS messages, Google the phone number to make sure it's legit.
  2. If you receive a message dealing with your credit or debit cards, call the number on the back of the card and not any other phone number you receive.
  3. Legitimate companies that you've purchased from before often personalize your information. Be on the lookout for general greetings like "Dear Customer" instead of personal greetings which use your name.
  4. Remember that any purchase or donation you make should be secured transactions. The start of the url should change from http to https, indicating that the connection is secured.
  5. Beware of companies that only do communication by email. Legitimate companies are required to have contact information on their websites. If you get an email or a text message, don't reply to it. Go to the company website.
  6. The same applies to charities. Many charities do allow donations online, so if you must donate, go to their website and donate.

This almost goes without saying it, but never give out your bank account or credit card information. This is a trick I use and it has saved me a lot of headache and worry. You can use this to avoid overdrafts, forced-billing and re-bill scams. Get a temporary, prepaid card that uses Visa or Mastercard, That way, you can safely make online purchases, and, in the off chance that anyone does get hold of the card number, you won't risk loosing any more money than what's already on the prepaid card.


In general I don't trust any email or text message when an offer is pushed in front of me. Always double check and verify information before taking any other action.

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