Understanding the Risks of Phishing Scams

This month is National Cyber Security Awareness Month and the perfect time to remind consumers and businesses about the risks of phishing scams.  Fortunately, there is a wealth of online resources available to combat phishing and other related identity-theft scams.

The identify-theft scam dubbed "phishing" is designed to trick unsuspecting victims into unwittingly giving out valuable personal information — such as social security numbers or credit card information.   

Using fake email messages and mock websites that look identical to a real company’s website, scammers try to “phish” for sensitive information and then use it drain your bank account, steal your identity or both. The scam can be tough to detect because many victims believe that the emails or website is authentic.

Here are some of best online sites offering practical advice so you don’t get hooked by deceitful phisher-men:

  • Anti-Phishing Working Group:  The APWG is the worldwide coalition unifying the global response to cybercrime across industry, government and law-enforcement sectors. The group has compiled a list of recommendations to avoid becoming a victim of phishing scams
  • Federal Trade Commission:  The FTC site includes examples of phishing messages, how to deal with them, steps to take to avoid phishing attacks and ways to report phishing emails.
  • United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT):  The Department of Homeland Security's US-CERT, which leads efforts to improve the nation's cybersecurity, collects phishing email messages and website locations so that it can help people avoid becoming victims of phishing scams.
  • U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission:  The SEC has a collection of resources to help spot potential phishing “expeditions” targeting businesses or financial institutions.
  • StaySafeOnline.org:  Powered by the National Cyber Security Alliance, this site offers tips and resources to protect yourself, your family and your devices. Verizon sees a wide range of scams that can have a direct impact on customers and has dedicated resources to investigate, track, and, where possible, resolve issues that occur as a result of scams.

Visit our Verizon Online Safety & Security site to learn more about Internet and email scams.