These criminals provide links to phony Web sites that appear to be official but are designed to trick you into providing your personal financial information.
You can avoid getting caught in online phishing scams, like these, by using caution when responding to e-mail solicitations, looking for signs that an organization’s Web site is legitimate, and using technology to help improve your online safety and security.
Treat suspicious messages cautiously
Look for signs that Web sites are safe
- Spoofed Web sites often use deliberate, easily overlooked misspellings to deceive users. Double-check the spelling of the organization's Web site in the address bar before looking through the site. You could have accidentally misspelled the address when you typed it in.
- On the Web page where you enter your credit card or other personal information, look for an "s" after http in the Web address of that page. It should read: https://. (Encryption is a security measure that scrambles data as it traverses the Internet.)
- Make sure there is a tiny closed padlock in the address bar, or on the lower right corner of the window.
- If you are using Internet Explorer, one sign of trustworthiness is that the address bar turns green and displays both https and the closed padlock.
- Keep up to date on the latest online scams through trusted technology news providers, government agencies, and other professional sources.
Get help from technology
Improving your computer’s defenses will also help you prevent phishing scams.
- Always use firewall, antivirus, and antispyware software.
- Download and install updates for all of your software. Use automatic updates so you don’t have to manually install the updates.
- Use a filter that warns you of suspicious Web sites. Browser filters block you from visiting reported phishing sites. The SmartScreen Filter in Internet Explorer 8 and the Phishing Filter in Internet Explorer 7 are examples of these filters.
Information from Microsoft Online Safety.
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