What is internet 'phishing'?

Phishing' or 'carding' is a high-tech internet scam that uses spam e-mail to trick people into disclosing their credit card numbers, bank account details or other sensitive information. The term 'phishing' was coined by hackers who imitate legitimate companies in e-mails to entice people to share passwords or credit-card numbers.

Fraudsters create replicas of existing web pages and send out fake e-mails with links to the replica website, they then ask the user to submit their password or account details. The National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, in association with the British Bankers' Association offer the following tips for staying safe online...

  • Know who you are dealing with - Always access internet banking by typing the bank's address into your web browser. Never go to a website from a link in an e-mail and enter personal details. If in doubt, contact the bank separately on an advertised number
  • Keep passwords and PINs safe - Always be wary of unsolicited e-mails or calls asking you to disclose any personal details or card numbers. Keep this information secret. Your bank and the police would never contact you to ask you to disclose this type of information
  • Check your bank's website - If in doubt, a good place to get help and guidance on how to stay safe online is your bank's website
  • Check your statement - if you notice anything irregular on your account contact your bank immediately
  • Keep your PC secure - Use up-to-date anti-virus software, security patches and a personal firewall. Be extra careful if using Internet cafes or any PC which is not your own and over which you have no control.

Dated: 01 May 2012