Identity theft help for prevention and victims

Phishing Scams

Phishing (phish-ing or fish-ing) tricks you into providing your personal and financial information to others.

You are often asked to confirm your account information because of potential fraud or even identity theft.

Online Phishing

You may receive an email that looks something like this:


or you may receive this in your email:


While these look like valid emails, they are not.

Note the Internet address (URL) in each of the emails looks like it could be valid. But, when you move your mouse over the links you can see where they actually go at the bottom of your screen.

If you click anywhere on the image you are sent to an address that is online for only a day or two.

The address is similar to

  • or
and now gives a "The page cannot be displayed" error.

At that site you will be asked to enter your login information to "validate" you so your account can be reinstated with full privileges.

These emails have two characteristics that should tip your off that these are scams:

  1. They do not address you by name and account number
  2. The links do not point to the corporate site that sposedly sent the email

If either of these are characteristics of the email you receive do not click the link. If you can, you should send the email to a corporate email address of someone interested in online phishing scams.

Offline Phishing

You may receive a phone call at home or work that seems to be from your bank, department store, the government or from an online group like PayPal. They may indicate that for one reason or another they need to verify your identity. They'll request some identification from you before they can restore your account.

Another scam is for someone to call you to tell you that you missed your jury duty appointment. To verify that they are talking with the right person they will ask your for some identification.

Simply remember that if you did not initiate the call you should not provide any personal information. You can stop the "phisher" in their tracks.

Other sites you may want to visit include:

Already an identity theft victim? Here's how to cope.
Identity Theft Prevention: Steps you can take.
Your credit report: Use it to detect identity theft.
Identity Theft Prevention and Victim Help Home Page

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