From time to time we see a rash of what is referred to as “phishing scams” taking place. For the uninformed among us, phishing is a way of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Communications purporting to be from popular social web sites, auction sites, online payment processors or IT administrators are commonly used to lure the unsuspecting public. Phishing is typically carried out by e-mail or instant messaging, and it often directs users to enter details at a fake website whose look and feel are almost identical to the legitimate one.
Phishing is an example of social engineering techniques used to fool users, and exploits the poor usability of current web security technologies. Attempts to deal with the growing number of reported phishing incidents include legislation, user training, public awareness, and technical security measures. A phishing technique was described in detail in 1987, and the first recorded use of the term “phishing” was made in 1996. The term is a variant of fishing, probably influenced by phreaking, and alludes to baits used to “catch” financial information and passwords.
For example, a caller might call and demand payment on a past due account and request a credit card or some type of immediate payment. Recently, there were a number of calls to businesses in the Montgomery area with a person claiming to be from AT&T. When these scams occur, do not give the caller any information. You can call the business, such as AT&T, to find out if anybody with the company has called you. AT&T never goes through a third party to contact a customer and that should put the customer on notice of a scam.
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