Phishing and Other Scams

Phishing
The recent phenomenom of 'digging' for personal details by e-mail, usually targeting online banking login details. "Phishers" work by sending out spam e-mail that appears to come from a reputable financial institution, asking for their 'customer' to click on a link and reconfirm their security details. The site that the unsuspecting user clicks through to is not related to their bank, and any details they enter have a good chance of being used for fraudulent purposes.

Reputable financial institutions and credit card companies will never ask you to reconfirm your details, so if you receive such an e-mail, either just ignore it or contact your financial institution by telephone to ask their advice. Related to vishing and smishing. See SECU's tips for how to protect yourself from phishing scams.

Smishing
Similar to phishing and vishing, except the spam message comes via text message instead of email or automated voice message. The term "smishing" uses part of the abbreviation "SMS" (short message service), which we know better as text messaging.

Vishing
Similar to phishing and smishing, except the spam message comes via automated phone message instead of email or text message. In this term, the "v" (for voice) replaces the "sm" in smishing.

Shoulder Surfing
Observing someone using a PIN (Personal Identification Number) by covertly looking over their shoulder, sometimes with the aid of binoculars or video camera with zoom lens.