by Robert Garment
, Executive Editor | September 26, 2006
Thieves using the Internet are increasingly trying to trick people into giving them their bank account details and other financial information, according to a survey published recently by a leading Internet security company which showed such "phishing" attempts almost doubled in the first six months of 2006.
"Phishing" means "fishing for someone's personal information" - and the term is appropriate, because phishers use misspelled words to get around spam filters that would block their emails.
Over 150,000 unique phishing messages were sent out around the world in the first half of 2006, and each message can go to hundreds of thousands of people.
Authorities say phishing operations are organized crimes - not just run by random individuals who do because they can. They often target home users who have the weakest defenses, and are more likely than seasoned business people to fall for the scams.
Phishers send around emails, pretending to be a financial institution or other legitimate organization, and ask to verify personal information such as account numbers and passwords.
DO NOT GIVE ANY PERSONAL INFORMATION OVER THE INTERNET TO ANY ONE UNLESS YOU INITIATED THE CONTACT. And when you do - say giving a company like Amazon your credit card information - only deal with businesses you can trust.
We here at DOTmed, as you know, make a big effort to help promote safe and honest dealings among our users. While phishing has nothing to do with any one on DOTmed, we want to avoid being "taken" by any scam.
Surf safe! And obey the "No Phishing" signs!