Avoiding Losses from "Phishing" Attacks

Thieves and con artists have access to a full bag of online dirty tricks, including some that are decidedly low-tech in nature. The most successful method of attack in recent years has been the "phishing" e-mail, in which a con artist tries to fool a gullible or inattentive victim into giving up useful information. The scam works like this:

  1. The criminal builds a counterfeit Web site designed to look like a legitimate site—typically a bank, brokerage, credit card issuer, or other site containing access to financial information. The site asks visitors to log on with their actual user name and password.

  2. The scammer blasts out thousands (or even millions) of e-mail messages that appear to be from the same institution ...

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