Identity Theft, Identity Theft Protection, ID Theft
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Phishing Emails in Identity Theft

By Amanda Randell
Published: Monday, November 30th, 2009

Phishing is the fraudulent act of acquiring personal information from an unsuspecting person by fronting as a legitimate establishment in an electronic communication. It is often carried out using emails or instant messages. These phishing emails are designed to feign the user, luring them into surrendering important details such as usernames, passwords or Personal Identification Numbers (PINs). Any user who is unaware of identity theft prevention measures in using the internet is in jeopardy, thus it is an important issue that should be known. 

Identity theft on the other hand is a growing crime that is as serious as it sounds. It implies that a person’s identity is literally taken from him, if not shared with unconsciously. Identity theft is achieved when a victim’s personal information becomes available to an identity thief either through robbery, simple stealing or through sophisticated ways such as hacking and phishing. Information such as the complete name, address, and birthdates can be enough to carry out the scam. Other vital information for identity theft are Social Security numbers, credit card account numbers, PINs, and driver’s licenses to name a few. This is why identity theft prevention is important. 

Information gained in phishing emails are then used to manipulate a person’s identity resulting in the thief applying for new loans, renting apartments, obtaining charges on the victim’s credit cards, and even changing the victim’s address. Slowly, the thief assumes the victim’s identity dealing great damage to the victim and his reputation. 

Being a victim is a very unfortunate state to be in, thus, it is important to know some identity theft prevention measures. One must start with the process of identifying phishing emails. Here are some tips in identifying those pesky emails. 

  • Check the company that sent the email. Make sure that you really made an account with the company that is making contact with you. If you are really associated with them, inquire or check with them through phone.
  • Check the URL or the email address of the incoming mail. The URL of the link provided and the email address should be in proper format. Phishing mails usually provide links that when clicked will direct the user to a seemingly legitimate web site. Mouse over these links and the URL will show in the html status bar. Scrutinize the URL. Does it seem legit? For example, if the mail is supposedly from Citibank, the URL should look like http: //www.… and not something like http: //…
  • Identify the location of the sender. See if it really fits the company that it claims to be. If the ‘Received’ line does not match the email address of the sender then something is wrong. Think twice about the email and inquire through phone or go directly to the company’s website. 

Phishing is now a rampant tool in identity theft thus vigilance is vital. Take important note of measures for identity theft prevention to safeguard your properties and specially your reputation. Don’t be a victim and be aware!

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