Monday Matters: Beware of Phishing Websites!

Monday Matters is dedicated to all things that matter.

It’s September 1 and what a sad news to start the -BER months!  I got a call from a bank around 9 o’clock this morning asking me when did I have my last transaction with them.  I answered last April only to find out that I have withdrawals from June to September 1, today which I never did and have knowledge of.  I immediately went to their branch here in Ozamiz and got a hard copy of my bank statement.  Indeed, I had withdrawals using this VISA card from Hong Kong, Mexico, London, etc.!  As if I had gone to those places except Hong Kong.

I was so disheartened knowing about this because that was hard-earned money! Though it may seem a little amount for some people, it is big enough for me.  Like, hello!  I was working my butt off to earn that!  Anyway, I would like to warn you about these phishing websites which are fishing private account information from innocent victims like me.

What is phishing?

Phishing refers to the activity of defrauding an online account holder of financial information by posing as a legitimate company. (Google Dictionary) Phishing websites mimic authentic websites of a bank, using a bank’s name and logo to trick clients into entering their user ID’s, passwords, and other confidential information.  Once these are captured, syndicates can then use an individual’s bank account for their own benefit.

How to identify phishing websites?

Phishing websites are cleverly constructed to really look like a company’s real site.  To be safe, check the web address by looking in your browser’s URL bar.  Phishing sites change a company’s name by subtly misspelling the address.  For example, www.paypal.com.  For a phishing site, it would be www.paypa1.com.  See?  The l is being replaced with 1 that would come unnoticeable.

How to do away with phishing websites?

Use a browser that has anti-phishing detection like the latest version of Internet Explorer or Netscape browsers.  The free add-ons (or plug-ins) can help you detect phishing sites.

Surely, technology today makes our life easier.  Online banking, online shopping, online transfer of money, etc. are just so convenient but this online thingy also comes with big disadvantage.  Since we could not trace these hackers, scammers, and syndicates, we ourselves have to be vigilant.  Just like me, I am a victim out of my ignorance.  But it takes an experience to give a person a lesson, right?  So, I’m sharing this post to all of you, my readers so this will not also happen to you.  Just be safe in all your online dealings.

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