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Internet Identity Theft Online

Two of the biggest trends in Internet identity theft online are spoofing and phishing. According to the FBI these are the most prevalent scams and two that consumers should be very concerned about. 

In a press release the FBI stated its concern about bogus emails being the most troubling new scam on the Internet. The bureau’s Internet Fraud Complaint Center (also known by its acronym – The IFCC) receives a rising number of complaints every day about unsolicited email that takes customers to some type of fake website.  Called “phishing” and “spoofing” these two types of fraud can constitute a successful threat to your security, that is, if you respond to the email. If you don’t respond to the email and instead report it to the proper authorities you will be doing your personal bit to clean up the web of fraud.

In general “phishing” refers to the fake email you are sent from a site that you normally trust (complete with fake logo) and “spoofing” refers to a fake website that looks exactly the website that you would normally log into. 

You can tell a “phishing” email because the header often appears to have come from someone or somewhere other than the actual company. It often looks like spam.  

Sometimes these phishing emails also contain link alteration. This looks like the usual link to your website but instead it takes you to a hacker’s website where any information you in is there for the criminal’s taking. 

A spoofed website often has something wrong with it or at least one unfamiliar aspect. The menus may float and instead of being led to a secure page you may be asked to enter your password and ID into a pop up window. The rule of thumb in this scenario? If you are at all uncertain about a website’s authenticity, don’t risk entering it.

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