Phishing for a bite on the increase

November 16, 2006
By

This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times)

If you’ve noticed that among the stacks of spam hitting your inbox every day there’s a growing list of phishing scams, you’re not alone.

It appears half the staff here at The Southland Times were the lucky recipients of a fake eBay e-mail on Tuesday and I’ve been getting almost daily attempts to steal my BNZ login details for months.

Scammers, take note: I don’t bank with the BNZ.

Earlier this year, Kiwibank also became a target for these lowlives and during the past week Trade Me seems to be featuring on the phishers’ hitlist.

So, what is phishing? According to Wikipedia, it is an attempt to fraudulently acquire sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy person or business in an electronic communication.

Phishing is typically carried out using e-mail or an instant message.

During the weekend there were discussions on the Trade Me message board about accounts that seemed to have been hijacked, the result of stolen passwords. When an account is hijacked, the scammer can trade on the good name and feedback of the victim, running fake auctions. The possibilities are even nastier if it’s your banking password that’s been stolen Remember, your bank will never send you an e-mail asking for you to reconfirm your login details. Neither will a reputable auction site.

Never click on the links in a suspicious e-mail, type the address for the bank, auction site or any other site. Either type in the legitimate address yourself or use your bookmarks.

If you do mistakenly click on a link and have given out your password, contact the real site and change your password immediately.

DON’T TAKE THE BAIT

  • Never respond to e-mails asking for personal financial information
  • Do visit banks’ websites by typing the URL into the address bar Keep a regular check on your accounts
  • Check the website you are visiting is secure
  • Be cautious with e-mails and personal data
  • Keep your computer secure
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