I first wrote about the dangers of phishing scams in the early 2000′s. I posted some tips on my old freelance company’s website, back in the pre-blog days. While I don’t have the original post anymore, the good news is the same tactics that I suggested then are still helpful today. And the even better news is there are a few new tools that can help you avoid falling prey to scammers.
Phishing scams are attempts by criminals to obtain personal information from you. It first started in the late 90′s when spammers needed to find legitimate e-mail addresses to use for their bulk mailings. Legitimate addresses were less likely to get caught in anti-spam filters, which were becoming commonplace at the Internet Service Provider (ISP) level.
The typical phishing scam we see today is an official (or not so official) looking message that claims to be your ISP’s support department. The message demands you respond with your username, password, and possibly other details, lest your account be deactivated. Some of these messages are easy to spot as forgeries. For example, I received the following message the other day on my UGA e-mail account: