There is a difference between fishing and phishing. Not just the spelling, but the harm it can do to your identity and finances. In one, actual fish are the goal; in the other, it’s our money (or us, depending on how you look at these things).
Girlfriend Guru and personal finance wiz MIATA EDOGA reminds us how easy it is to get caught in a phishing scam. Yet just a few simple steps can go a long way toward protecting our identity and our money.
I received an alarming email yesterday. According to the writer, my PayPal account had been compromised. The note recommended that I change my password to ensure that my account remains safe. It was written on a page with the official PayPal logo and had fine print at the bottom. There was even a handy link to click to access the PayPal site and make the changes. It looked official.
Luckily I looked examined the link before pressing on it to change my password. It was from Paypal-security-team.com. This was the first clue that I’d almost submitted my personal account information to a site designed for one reason: to raid my PayPal account and gain access to my accounts at any linked banks.
This type of scam is called “phishing” and is becoming more sophisticated. In the early years of phishing scams, you were contacted by a rich relative from a foreign country. Now they’re on to bigger and better schemes like this PayPal scam.
Three Steps to Protect Yourself
1) Never use the link or phone number provided in an email about private accounts. Customer service numbers are readily available on company websites. PayPal has a full page detailing ways to contact the company. There’s no reason to use a provided link or call a listed number.
2) Stay on top of current scams. Visit the Internet Crime Complaint Center website (partially run by the FBI) periodically to find out what crooks have been up to lately. ONGuardOnline.gov is also a good government spot for internet safety tips.
3) Invest in good internet security software and scam-detecting apps. I like the free Scam Detector app that includes information on over 500 current scams at any time. This and similar apps are great for on-the-fly information about that PayPal email you’ve just opened.
MIATA EDOGA is the President and Founder of Abundance Bound, a 10-year old company committed to utilizing humor, inspiration, and lots of love to give individuals around the world the necessary tools to thrive financially, while keeping focus on the things they treasure most. Visit the Abundance Bound Facebook Page for your free copy of Financial Success for the Creative Soul!
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