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Computers 101 - What is Phishing?

Updated on March 19, 2012

If you are a computer newbie who likes to surf the net, you have probably heard of the term Phishing, but you might not know the specifics of the activity.

You might know that it has something to do with illegal activity on the Internet, but your knowledge may not go beyond that.

This is where I come in. My name is Rachelle, and I have created this Computer 101 series to help you make sense out of basic computer and Internet terminology.

This hub is designed to help you learn about Phishing in a very basic sense.

Phishing in Plain English for Computer/Internet Newbies

Phishing is when a criminal sends out emails that lure you in to visiting a fake website.

These emails typically state that there is something wrong with your account (especially a bank account or any type of financial or personal information account), then they ask you to log in to your account.

When you arrive at the fake website, it looks identical to the real website that you are used to dealing with (your bank website, for example), so you go ahead and login with your credentials (username and password) - This is the trick!

Now, you have given criminals complete access to your account because they have stolen your login information. It only takes thieves a minute or two to wipe out your bank account.

Internet Phishing Scam
Internet Phishing Scam

How to Combat Phishing

In order to stay safe from phishing scams you need to be wary of any emails, especially from a financial institution, that directs you to log in to your account because there may be a problem.

The first thing you should do is contact your financial institution using the method that you usually use to talk to them (call them on the customer service number that you are already familiar with).

It is best to completely ignore such emails, but if you do have the urge to respond because you believe the request could be valid (it usually is not), you need to pay careful attention to the URL - remember, there is a huge difference between and

Unfortunately, phishing scams affect thousands of people each year. If you feel that you have been a victim of any type of Internet scam, make sure to file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

*The IC3 is a division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

If you would like to learn about computers and the Internet without all of the tech talk, check out my free Computer 101 series of hubs


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