The Astrology Page Blog: Neptune Gets Phishy

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Neptune Gets Phishy

The Saturn opposition to Neptune, which will be in effect until 6/25/07, brings all sorts of deception in business practices. Many of you may have heard of Phishing (pronounced like the word fishing). Here are some important tips, so you won’t be caught. Fishing is related to Neptune, and misusing phishing for business success is so like an unscrupulous Saturn.

Don't Get Caught by "Phishing" Emails

What is a "Phishing" email?

"Phishing" emails are emails that appear to be from authentic companies but are not. The goal of these types of emails is to trick you into giving out some of your personal information.

Be cautious when you receive an email with links prompting you to log onto a website. Phishing scams can take the form of emails or pop-up windows that are crafted to trick you into revealing your social security number, account log in, or password information.

Generally, they'll say something like "someone tried accessing your account, please log in to verify your information."

The perpetrators have become very sophisticated in recent years. Some of these phony emails include graphic logos and some content from of legitimate company websites. Sometimes the actual employee names may be listed as well making the emails look no different from an email from the real actual company.
Ebay, Paypal, and banks seem to be the favorite targets of scammers.

I work and live online and still have to remind myself of a few golden rules when going through my email inbox, especially when I'm tired.

If you do not recognize the sender of the email - be skeptical and cautious (businesses can't always do this obviously)

If you open a suspicious email accidentally, avoid clicking on any links. By clicking on the email links, you may possibly trigger the installation of some spyware onto your computer if the sender is a fake.

You can download a free copy of Ad-aware (by Lavasoft) that will zap that type of intrusion among others. Normally, I would put a link to the site but I want to try to prove a point and give you some practice. Just do a google search for "lavasoft".

Another way you can tell if a web site link is legitimate is if you hover the mouse cursor over the link and see the address that shows up on the bottom left corner of your screen. It should start with "http://www.companyname.com". If it does not, it may be redirecting you to a fictitious site.

In a case where you are unsure, it's best to type the website URL directly into your browser (e.g. http://www.ebay.com/), or use a search engine.

Scammers sometimes randomly generate email addresses, which explains how you may have received fake emails that appear to be from banks you don't know or have never used. Email addresses can also be gathered from online chat rooms, online auctions, directories or web pages. You should be aware that just because the return email address is legitimate, doesn't mean the whole email is.

If you are familiar with the sender of the email and are being prompted to log onto your account, it is always better to go to their web site directly or use a bookmark than use the link.
You should still be able to find out if there is a legitimate issue by visiting the website directly and going to your account area.

Generally, legitimate banks don't email you asking you to update your account information or log in - this is the #1 Phishing scam I have seen to date. Phishing emails from "Fifth Third Bank", "Chase", or "Bank of America" may show up in your inbox one day.

The Paypal "update your account information" email is another very common phishing scam that many people have seen. Again, go to the web site directly; Type it in your browser. It's best to never provide ANY personal information after clicking a link in an email.

I don't want to scare anyone from opening their email, but many people are not informed, which makes them very susceptible to these high tech schemes.

My word of advice, is to be cautious about any unexpected emails asking you to verify any personal information or sensitive account details.

About The Author

Bob Stephens writes for ASAP Inkjets. Signup for their free newsletter for tips & discount coupons at: ASAP Inkjets

I'll add to Bob's comments; never fill out anything by link even if it appears to be someone you know, don't open email from someone you don't know, and watch out for filling out a survey by email. A great percentage of these emails appear to be coming from within the US, but they are often sources out of the country.

This is not a promotion for ink jets. I use their ink, but I do not get compensation for using their article. I just think it’s important to know about phishing.

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