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What is Phishing?

Phishing refers to the act of sending out an e-mail to a user disguised as a legitimate business. For example, you may receive a fraudulent email from someone claiming to be eBay, PayPal, your bank, or any number of other businesses you may or may not deal with on a regular basis. The email may even look real because it contains graphics and logos used by the real business.

It is called 'phishing' because the sending is 'casting out bait' in the form of an email and hoping that you will respond by sending them credit card info, social security numbers, or other personal information they can use to steal your identity.

The email will contain a link to a web site with a claim that you need to update personal information. If you do in fact click on the link, the web site will likely look almost identical to the real web site of the business they are trying to imitate.

Phishing emails usually will not contain personal information and will say something like 'dear customer.' If an email seems legitimate, the better practice is to type in the web address in your browser or use your bookmarks rather than click on an email link.

Below is an example of a PayPal phishing scam...

PayPal phishing email

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