The trickery involved in a different form of phishing came to my attention this weekend. You may have already heard about phishing as it relates to emails. Phishing emails are spam messages that arrive in our mailboxes and pretend to come from a legitimate entity, such as a bank or your school’s email administrator and then attempt to obtain your credentials so that they can access your email account, your bank account or any of your other online accounts. A keen eye and suspicious mind will go far to prevent you from falling for these scams.
What you might not be as familiar with is internet phishing. This is when you visit a website that you might already trust or which has a good reputation and so you have no reason to suspect foul-play. Even so, some scammer has managed to compromise a portion of that site so that when you are submitting your personal information, you are actually submitting it to a cyber criminal.
An example I saw this weekend involved renting a vacation property via a popular website. When submitting an inquiry or deciding to place a reservation, the victim is unaware that he is sending his information to the phisher, rather than to the property owner/manager. The phisher intercepts the client’s credit card information and the victim is unaware that not only did the inquiry or reservation not go through, but his credit card could now be compromised. In this example, the phisher impersonated the owner/manager and perhaps already gained access to his or her email account.
Today is Cyber Monday, kicking off the online shopping season, and cyber criminals are out there busily setting traps for the unwary shopper.
This news article provides some tips to help you have a safe and pleasant online shopping experience this holiday season. In addition, if you experience fraud via a website, be sure to let the owners of the website know so that others don’t fall victim as well.