The stealing of identity information from users online and has become one of the biggest dangers of unknowingly giving away your personal information.
According to the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG), the number of Phishing incidents is increasing at a rate of 56 percent every month.
Phishing can be done on an unsuspecting victim who receives an email that comes from a respectable business, such as a bank or other types of financial institutions and the email links the victim to a web site where he or she is asked to provide account information. What is scary the site in which you have been directed to looks legitimate and about 10 percent of people who receive these types of emails fall prey to these crooks.
Thousands of computers are compromised each day without the user ever knowing they have unwillingly given up their private and personal information.
Phishing is automated identity theft. Gartner Group estimated in that 1.78 million Americans had already given their information to phishers with a cost to U.S. consumers and industry is 2.4 billion dollars.
It is a good bet that everyone who has an email account has received some level of Phishing. Anytime you have received an email from what appears to be a legitimate business that has a well known presence on the internet has been used to steal your personal information. The type of information being requested is passwords, usernames, account numbers, credit cards, social security numbers and any other data that will allow the criminals to take your identity and money.
Identity theft is the fasting growing crime in the United States. Can you imagine having criminals take out a second mortgage on your home or better yet purchase a home using your credit information, fraudulent charges on your credit card.
If you receive an email as described above and provided the information most likely you are a victim of Identity theft.
Some of the businesses being impersonated are banks, auctions sites, Internet retails, charities, financial institutes and any other internet transaction base site. Keep in mind that most of the impersonating is of the Larger companies that are well known, but it is just a matter of time that all of us will need to be on high alert.
Even if you don’t answer the email you can become a victim with the use of spy ware or Trojans. In this case you don’t have to supply any information. The victim’s computer is compromised and sends the information to the phishers on its own. This is known a keystroke logger that watches for usernames, passwords and other financial or personal information.
Who is doing the Phishing?
Serious crackers are sophisticated and don’t care who they work for, they can develop their own spy ware, run scripts through email or websites, compromise networks that are behind a firewall and generally cause disaster.
Organized Crime and criminal syndicates are responsible for the most elaborate and thorough phishing scams. This group hires the serious crackers to develop websites to recruit mules for money laundering; they can create fake credit and Cash cards with your personal information and use them anywhere they want. It is said that this is the most dangerous group and create most of the identity theft.
Terrorists are currently profiting from your identity, in 2015 the FBI stated the following in congressional testimony:
The impact of Identity theft is greater that just the loss of money or property. Terrorists and terrorist groups require funding to perpetrate their terrorist agendas. The methods use to finance terrorism range from the highly sophisticated to most basic. There is virtually no financing method that has not at some level been exploited by the groups. Identity theft is a key catalyst for fueling many of these methods.
Just be careful and don’t respond to emails. Call the financial institutes that you do business with to verify the email and also notify them of incident.