Definition Of Phishing
The Oxford Dictionary definition of phishing states that any activity meant to defraud another person, using the Internet as a medium, is a phishing exercise. The term derived from the word "fishing", as the fraudulent activities rely on making online bait to capture the important personal information of other Internet users who take the bait.
To obtain the private information they need to defraud you, phishers pose themselves as trustworthy companies or sites. This act of posing ranges from small scale scams to large scams. Phishers may send emails posing as your bank or other institutions you trust and ask for verification of your records; or they may replicate an entire website in order to capture your password and hack into the real site using your password.
What Phishers Want
Not only do phishers seek your passwords to get onto trusted sites, they also want other personal information to defraud you on a larger scale–larger than just hacking into your social networking sites and sending virus emails to all your friends. Phishers also seek to obtain your birthdate, social security number, credit and debit card numbers, bank account numbers and other personal information they can use to hack into your personal accounts.
Phishing is an intimidating occurrence that many people feel they cannot avoid. You can prevent someone from phishing your personal information by always practicing caution when conducting business online. If your financial institutions email you seeking information, ensure the email came from them, by calling or visiting the institution to deliver the information directly, instead of responding in an email. Additionally, always check the URL of sites you log into. If the URL does not exactly match, you may be on a phishing site. Check the URL before you enter any information to prevent the loss of your personal information, your identity, and your finances.