What is a Phishing Scam?
A Phishing Scam is defined as a type of crime that is committed through the use of electronic communication systems within a virtual setting, typically facilitating individual computer systems, online networks, the Internet, or electronic databases in order to defraud unsuspecting victims.
In accordance with its most common incarnation, a Phishing Scam will typically disburse fraudulent electronic correspondence purposefully misrepresenting itself to resemble correspondence sent from reputable and legitimate businesses, entities, or commercial endeavors. Phishing Scam correspondence will oftentimes request the transmission of personal or financial information belonging to the victim.
Phishing Scam vs. Electronic Spamming
Although the nature of a Phishing Scam and Spamming are both considered to be criminal activities undertaken within the realm of an online, virtual setting, the individual classification of each of these fraudulent and illegal activities varies in conjunction to one another.
The primary similarity of a Phishing Scam and Spamming exists with regard to the facilitation of the activity, which includes the mass-disbursement of unsolicited information with the intent of unethically reaching a vast expanse of eligible recipients with unsolicited correspondence.
Spam is the mass-transmission of electronic correspondence to recipients who have not requested such information. Electronic Spam exists both through E-mail correspondence, as well through intrusive computer programs undertaking measures to render ‘pop-up’ advertising on the individual computer terminals belonging to the victims of this crime.
A Phishing Scam undertakes a similar measure of solicitation, yet varies with regard to the end result of its respective solicitation.
A Phishing Scam will utilize fraudulent means of correspondence in order to misrepresent itself as a legitimate entity in order to immediately obtain personal and financial information belonging to the individual victim. A Phishing Scam will set forth fraudulent requests under the guise of those requests being authorized and official in nature.
Phishing Scam Prevention
The proliferation of Phishing Scams currently in existence are considered to take place in tandem with technological advancement, as well as the reliance of modern society on the Internet with regard to its provision of commercial opportunity and social networking. However, the following methodologies should be undertaken in order to ensure safety from the damage rendered by a Phishing Scam:
Computer Protection Software
Computer protection software may be facilitated in order to deter the potential solicitation of information considered to be private or personal through victimization resulting from a Phishing Scam. This nature of software provides for the protection and preservation of personal information – both private and financial in nature.
In order to deter the transmission of Phishing Scams, many e-mail providers have introduced electronic filtration systems aimed at deterring the delivery of prospective Phishing Scam activities.
Internet browsers have undertaken methodologies utilized in order to deter the insertion of unlawful tracking and monitoring programs onto personal computer terminals.
Reporting a Phishing Scam
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is a Federal institution mandated by the United States Government responsible for the maintenance, protection, and regulation of commercial activity undertaken through the use of the Internet within a virtual setting. The Federal Trade Commission can be contacted through their toll-free telephone number: (202) 326-2222. The reporting of a Phishing Scam can be conducted in an anonymous fashion.