The virtual world, with all its upsides, comes with the baggage of being plagiarised and impersonated. We can do little about it and eventually have to accept it. However, when we receive a spoof email that claims to be from our bank or that promises us a big lottery or that sounds unbelievably profitable, we must go ahead reporting it.
Here is my story. I was receiving spam emails from Yahoo according to which I was supposed to get some million dollars by divulging my details. I decided to go ahead, and through a series of interactive emails I did report it. In the process, I realised that how little I knew about the world of phishing. Dealing with spam emails involves a series of considerations which we need to prepare ourselves with.
How to protect ourselves from phishing?
1. Be alert, be suspicious of any urgent requests. Phishing email will try to convey a sense of urgency that would make us act before we can ponder over the consequences.
2. Avoid filling out form in the email itself. The security of email is low.
3. If an email asks you to visit your account, access the account directly by typing it on the browser and not from the link given in the email.
4. Only enter confidential information on web pages that appear secure. Do not trust the pop-ups saying that the certificates for the websites are issued by untrusted authorities. Click "no" to untrusted authorities.
5. In the Internet Explorer, right-click on the web page you would enter your information on, and select "Properties." Or, from the "File" pull-down menu (at the top of the page), select "Properties." On the Properties pop-up, you can examine the domain name and the security certificate. In FireFox, right-click on the web page you would enter your information on and select "View Page Info." Here you can examine the domain name and the security certificate.
6. Only use credit cards to make online purchases.
7. Regularly check your bank account and credit and debit card statements to ensure that all transactions are legitimate.
8. Never click on a link in an email that you suspect is a scam. They can lead you to web pages that look legitimate but exist to discover your password or financial information.
9. If you have a business, you can register your company website with PhishRegistry.org. This free service reports if it detects elements of your logon pages elsewhere on the Internet.
10. Never forward the chain emails without using the BCC. Blind carbon copy is an effective way to protect privacy of others and this is something we all must do just as we must ensure other things that would help us and others from being defrauded.
What to do with fraud emails?
1. Report any scam email by forwarding it to the Federal Trade Commission (firstname.lastname@example.org).
2. Contact the organization that the email comes from and report it to the mother organization.
3. Use blind carbon copy while forwarding chain emails to several addressees.
4. Start discussions and let others know about your experiences in the forums you visit. Craigslist, Yahoo, Snopes and Urbanlegends help us reach to greater traffic in a short period of time.
5. Update your anti-virus software and run a virus scan of your computer.
6. Forward the spams to:
reportphishing@antiphishing, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org