Index Ask! Random

Question: What Is Phishing?

I've heard people talk about phishing, and warnings to be on the lookout for it. What is phishing?


You probably guessed this, but the word 'phishing' comes from the word 'fishing'. It's an internet scam in which someone tries to fool you into divulging personal information.

Here's an example. You get an email that appears to be from It tells you that your password to your PayPal account is about to expire, and you need to click a link to update your password.

The only problem is, the email is not really from PayPal. And the link they send you is to a site which looks like the PayPal site, but isn't really. So you go there, and enter your username and password.

The moment you've done that, the Phisher now has your username and password, and can log into your PayPal account, and do whatever he likes with it.

Similar stunts are used to get credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and other personal information.

What should you do about Phishing? If you get an email from a credit card service, bank, or other institution you do business with, assume the information in the email is false. Go directly to the business website, not by clicking on the link, but by typing the name of the business website directly into your web browser. That way you can guarrantee you're not being sent to the wrong website.

Bookmark and Share