As if sifting through dozens of spam emails that make their way into your inbox each day wasn't enough, the increasing threat of "phishing" adds another level of concern. How can you stay safe from hackers out to steal your personal information, such as credit card numbers? A few tips should keep your online experience safe and secure.
Urgent Email Requests : Normally phishing involves sending out an email requesting personal information that appears to come from a financial institution or company you trust. It will typically include a link to an authentic-looking website complete with company logos and a nearly exact replica of the company's real website. Security Center
Unless you look closely at the website URL, you may easily fall prey for this type of online ID-theft. Paypal, a leader in online money transfers, has been a particular target of such scams. The best rule of thumb is not to respond to these emails. No legitimate financial institution will request your information via email.
The September 2004 edition of Consumer Reports offers six ways to outwit ID thieves:
Rest assured Sierra Central will never ask you for sensitive account information in an email. If you receive such a request, please notify our Member Services department immediately.