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Definition - What does Phishing mean?

Phishing is the fraudulent act of acquiring private and sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, personal identification and account usernames and passwords. Using a complex set of social engineering techniques and computer programming expertise, phishing websites lure email recipients and Web users into believing that a spoofed website is legitimate and genuine. In actuality, the phishing victim later discovers his personal identity and other vital information have been stolen and exposed.

Techopedia explains Phishing

Similar to fishing in a lake or river, phishing is computer lingo for fishing over the Internet for personal information. The term was first used in 1996, when the first phishing act was recorded.

Phishing uses link manipulation, image filter evasion and website forgery to fool Web users into thinking that a spoofed website is genuine and legitimate. Once the user enters vital information, he immediately becomes a phishing victim.

Fortunately, phishing victimization is preventable. The following security precautions are recommended:

  • Use updated computer security tools, such as anti-virus software, spyware and firewall.
  • Never open unknown or suspicious email attachments.
  • Never divulge personal information requested by email, such as your name or credit card number.
  • Double check the website URL for legitimacy by typing the actual address in your Web browser.
  • Verify the website's phone number before placing any calls to the phone number provided via email.

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