Before you answer that question, let me assure you, we know how to spell!
So what is phishing?
Phishing scams are attempts by unscrupulous people, known as scammers, to trick you into providing them with your personal information such as your bank account details, credit card numbers and other passwords.
How does this work?
A scammer will contact you, pretending to represent your banking institution, or other service provider such as your telephone company. They will contact you using a variety of methods including telephone, email, text message, or even social media.
For example, a scammer may call to advise that your bank has suffered a technical error which has resulted in damage and/or loss of customer records.
Alternatively, they may advise that there has been an unexpected and unauthorised large transaction on your account and will ask you for your details in order to "investigate".
Phishing messages will look genuine, and will often include the brand and logo of the company they are trying to represent.
In some cases you may be directed to a website, but these are designed to represent your banking institution in order for you to enter confidential details.
For example, if your bank's website address is www.mylocalbank.com.au, the scammer may have designed a fake website with the address www.mylocalebank.com.au. It's all done to seduce the consumer into a false sense of security in order to extract confidential information, which is then used in whichever way the scammer so chooses. If you provide your financial information to a scammer, they are able to use your credit cards and steal your money.
What are the warning signs?Be aware suspicious of contact in any form that asks you to provide confidential information such as your banking details, credit card numbers, or passwords.Emails may address you incorrectly, and may contain spelling errors or grammatical mistakes.Websites may not look like the regular one you visit.
How do I protect myself?
Don't click on or open emails with links or attachments claiming to be from your bank or other financial institution, especially if they are asking for confidential information. Delete the email.
If you receive a phone call from someone appearing to represent your banking institution, ask for their name and contact number and make an independent check with the organisation in question.
Do you think you've been scammed?
Have you been scammed by phishing? Let us know in the comments section.