Recently I have received email from my bank/credit Card Company, eBay & pay pal saying that my account has possibly been compromised and I need to confirm my details and password in order to get continued access.
Spam email now has a new and more frightening variant, it's called phishing and it has been made by criminals and hackers who aim at getting unwitting consumers to reveal account numbers and passwords.
Usually after getting an email like ones mentioned above from reputable companies, most of us would race to respond as quickly as possible. However, in most cases you will find that you won't be helping anyone other then criminal who wrote that email and who has nothing to do with actual organizations.
What is Phishing?
It is when someone creates false email that pretends to be from a bank or other authority, but which is actually designed to collect sensitive information such as passwords. This process of stealing information used for fraudulent purposes is latest problem to plague Internet users. It is a phenomenon know as phishing i.e. emails 'fishing' for important information.
Just like Spam, phishing mails are sent to widest possible audience so it's not unusual to receive a message asking you to confirm account details from an organization you do not actually deal with. You may be asked to fix up your eBay account when you haven't even got one!
In addition to collecting sensitive information many phishing messages try to install spy ware, Trojans etc. allowing hackers to gain backdoor entry into computers.
Types of Phishing Emails:
Some phishing emails ask for a response by email. Some emails include a form for collecting details that you are told to fill out. Some even include a link to a web site that resembles actual site you expect to visit, but is actually a clone of original site.