Phishing occurs when crooks, pretending to be from well-known companies, organizations, or government agencies, try to trick you into revealing your Social Security numbers, financial account information, passwords, or other personal information. That information is then used to make unauthorized purchases, take over your accounts, open new accounts in your name, get tax refunds and other government benefits, and even apply for jobs.
Produced with support from Visa, Inc., these new consumer resources are on CFA’s IDTheftInfo.org website under "Protect Yourself" and on CFA’s main website at consumerfed.org/fraud. In addition to describing the common tactics that phishing scammers use, CFA’s new tips also provide advice on what to do if you’ve been hooked as well as links to sources for more information about phishing. These materials are free to download, link to, or print to use for educational purposes.
Phishing has been a serious fraud problem for several years and shows no signs of letting up. In 2012, it was the fourth most common scam reported to the National Consumers’ League’s Fraud Center and as part of the category “Imposter Scams." It ranked number 8 in the top ten frauds reported to the Federal Trade Commission last year. Good spam filters catch many email phishing attempts - but not all. It’s important to be on guard. Phishing scammers also use text messages and phone calls to contact potential victims.