Phishing, pharming, vishing and smishing

Phishing is a familiar term now, but it took some getting use to. These terms are to be added to the list of our growing vocabulary:

Phishing— Sc ammers bait potential victims with trickery and craftiness to obtain sensitive information from you, such as driver’s license numbers, bank account numbers, social security numbers, and whatever else the victim will offer.

Ask yourself a few questions. Do you know the sender? Are there attachments? Did the sender address you by the correct name and address? Are there grammatical errors and misspellings?

Con artists want you to think they know everything about you, when in fact, these crooks know very little about their victims.

Pharming—Scammers plant malware on your computer that redirects to another location on the website without you knowing it. It can control your computer. This is commonly done without your permission.

Vishing—This technique attempts to get as much personal data from you as they can.

This sounds like phishing. It is an attempt to steal your identity with the use of the telephone rather than the computer.

Phyllis Waring of Rockdale received a telephone call informing her of an “error message” generated through Windows.

This could be fixed easily, if she would go online for the technician to access her computer with his remote system.

Phyllis cradled the phone without the courteous “good bye”, and rightly so.

Watch for this vishing attempt from your telephone. You should not use a link to take you to a suggested website. You can be sure of whom you call. You are not sure who is calling you.

Smishing—Criminals use text messaging to contract their prey. Jim Foster of Cameron, has the distinction of being the first in Milam County to report a smishing attempt to Milam County TRIAD.

The message informed Jim had won without entering any contest.

It seemed to make matters worse, when he explained that he seldom darkens the door of the store from which he “won.” You may get news pretending to be from Walmart, or Best Buy with similar opportunities.

The message Jim got had directions, code numbers, telephone numbers.

Jim did wonder why people responded to collect winnings from contests they did not enter.

You get angry when you think of so many good, honest, law abiding senior citizens being misled and cheated.

The new year, 2013, may have resolutions to avoid phishing scams, pharming scams, vishing scams and smishing scams.

Milam County TRIAD appreciates its members for sharing scam attempts they had, with others.

The two scam attempts reported here happened this month.

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2012-12-13 digital edition

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