With phishing attacks becoming more prevalent these days it is important always be alert and pay attention to where you are entering your online information. If you are not familiar with phishing, it is when someone attempts to get sensitive information (eg personal, financial) by masquerading as a trusted entity such as a bank website or an email from your ISP.

Check that the address is what you expect. On the internet a server is given a name in the format of host.domain.tld. Host is the name of the server, domain is the name of the internet domain, and tld is the three letter designation (though this is no longer true). For instance if I were to visit Google, I would see www.google.com. www is the name of the server, google is the domain, and com is the tld. I might also see www.google.co.uk. In this instance (with a more international approach), co.uk is the tld. It means it is a commercial website in the UK. You should never see www.google.phisherdomain.com. This means you are at a computer named www.google on the phisherdomain (the phisher’s domain).

Other good rules of thumb follow:

  • Don’t email personal or financial information
  • If you get an email or pop-up message that asks for personal or financial information, do not reply
  • Review credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them
  • Be cautious about opening any attachment or downloading any files from emails

Some good places that give information on staying safe online:

Avoid Getting ‘Hooked’ By Phishers
How Not to Get Hooked by a ‘Phishing’ Scam
Recognize phishing scams and fraudulent e-mails

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