Credit Infocenter
Call Lexington Law 800.461.0524 for a FREE Credit Repair Consultation

Beware of Phishing Cyber Scams and ID Theft

Written by: Kristy Welsh

Last Updated: April 19, 2017

Phishing is the act of attempting to acquire personal information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an email communication. Phishing emails may contain links to websites, which are infected with malware so when the unsuspecting person clicks on the link, their financial information and passwords, that may have been saved on their computer, are stolen.

The sender may ask you to "confirm" your personal information for some made-up reason; your account has been closed, an order for something has been placed in your name, your information has been lost due to a computer error, etc. A phishing email will contain a concocted story designed to lure you into taking an action such as clicking a link or button in the email or perhaps calling a phone number and providing or confirming personal information.

History of Phishing

The phishing technique was first described back in 1987 and the term "phishing" was established in 1995 as a play on the word fishing. A cyber-thief uses "bait" to "lure" his victim into clicking on a malicious link to which their private information was stolen. Hence, the beginnings of Phishing.

How to Spot a Phishing Email

There are many telltale signs, but here are some of the most common:

866.785.9884 Call for a FREE credit repair consultation & FICO® score from Lexington Law

How to Avoid Being a Victim of Phishing

Remember, when it comes to phishing, you are in control. To protect your financial and identity information, simply ignore all email requests for information. Other tips include:

Tips on Identifying a False Website Link

Hold your mouse over the link in your email, but DO NOT CLICK ON IT. You will see where the link goes in the left bottom corner of the browser or your email software window.

For example, if the email were regarding a PayPal matter (though PayPal RARELY sends out email with a link back to their website), a SAFE link to PayPal would be:

Why is this safe? Because the "paypal" part of the link is located immediately next to the ".com" part of the link and "" are the last letters in the link.

An unsafe link is something like:

Why is this unsafe? Even though the "paypal" part of the link is located immediately next to the ".com" part of the link, the "" are NOT the last letters in the link. This means that the link is going to the website of "" where most likely malicious code resides, or there is a form which mimics a form on PayPal requesting your information.

Call 800.461.0524 and speak to a Credit Repair Expert at Lexington Law
Have Questions About Credit Repair? Get Answers with a FREE Consultation
Free Credit Repair Consultation & FICO® score from Lexington Law