Phishing is an attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details often for malicious reasons, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

Phishing has become so common that these people keep changing their tactics and it is almost impossible to tell that it is happening.  Apple recently said that it is impossible to tell if a phishing email is from them or is phishing because these companies have copied the Apple logo and it just looks real.  The only way to tell is to NOT real, do not respond to the email, phone number, etc.  and, instead, call their company instead.  This is also happening with COX and ATT I have heard.

This story happened to one of my clients just the other day.  He was on his computer and suddenly a message popped up on his screen for him to call this number immediately as his computer had been hacked.  He called the number (he thought it was Apple) and with their direction, he was able to give them remote access to his computer.  They even went so far as to send him an electronic document to sign, which he told them not to open, and right in front of his they opened it and electronically signed his name, then proceded to scan all his files to make sure he was 'protected'.  He became suspicious and called Apple.  They let him know the phone number he had called was not one of theirs and it was phishing.  His computer is now at a repair shop where they are trying to make sure his files are not infected and to get it up and running.  His big concern was that the phishers could have accessed his banking information from his computer (and they could).  

This morning on the TODAY show this very scenario was being discussed.  We are told to NOT respond to anything on line.  If it is your bank, or a company such as Apple, that allegedly contacting you, call that entity instead to verify.  Today American Express called me because a $1 charge had just popped up on my account.  They did not ask me for any sensitive information as they had access to my credit card number because they were calling me.  I still waited and called the number on the back of my credit card to verify they were trying to reach me.  My husband says you can goole those phone numbers, email addresses, and IP addresses and you will quickly find out if it is the real company contacting you.

This is a cautious tale.  Please be extra careful these days.

I know this has nothing to do with selling or buying real estate but that's the kind of REALTORS you will find at the Pat Wattam Team.  We are always looking out for our clients best interests!