Product Review – What’s Inside Your Phish Tank?

Even if you’ve sworn off fish as pets and packed your aquarium away, you may want to consider checking out this PhishTank.

PhishTank.com collects and shares statistics and information about phishing scams on the internet. Registered users are invited to submit suspected phishing messages, tor hydra track the status of your submissions and verify whether or not these or other submissions are in fact phishing scams. It also provides an open API for developers and researcher to integrate anti-phishing data into their applications free of charge. What is an API? API stands for Application Programming Interface, which is simply a tool that gives computers a way to pull what they need from another computer, such as the PhishTank.com site.

There are over 29,000 registered users of PhishTank. This means a large amount of shared information and that allows PhishTank to educate consumers on the latest scams and help them protect themselves from identity theft.

Facts on Phishing

The name PhishTank refers to phishing, the type of scams that the site tracks. Phishing is any scam initiated in order to steal your personal information. The purpose of stealing your personal information of course is to steal your identity and commit financial fraud.

Phishing can occur through mail or by phone but the most common form of phishing is through e-mails. Phishing e-mails usually appear to come from an organization that is well known and the e-mails often look and sound official. The e-mails are an attempt to collect your personal information such as social security numbers, credit card numbers, user names and passwords. Recent phishing scams have included fraudulent e-mails that appeared to from PayPal, major banks, the Better Business Bureau and even the IRS.

Phishing e-mails will attempt to get you to click on a link. This link will take you to an unsecured website where the criminals will “phish” for your personal information.

Tips from PhishTank.com on Recognizing Phishing E-Mails

* A generic greeting.

Phishing emails are usually sent in large batches. To save time, Internet criminals use generic names like “First Generic Bank Customer” so they don’t have to type all recipients’ names out and send emails one-by-one. If you don’t see your name, be suspicious.

*A forged link.

Even if a link has a name you recognize somewhere in it, it doesn’t mean it links to the real organization. Roll your mouse over the link and see if it matches what appears in the email. If there is a discrepancy, don’t click on the link. Also, websites where it is safe to enter personal information begin with “https” – the “s” stands for secure. If you don’t see “https” do not proceed.

* Requests personal information.

The point of sending phishing email is to trick you into providing your personal information. If you receive an email requesting your personal information, it is probably a phishing attempt.

* A sense of urgency.

Internet criminals want you to provide your personal information now. They do this by making you think something has happened that requires you to act fast. The faster they get your information, the faster they can move on to another victim.

PhishTank just celebrated their second anniversary. In that time over 1 million phishing scams have been reported. Earlier this year PC World honored PhishTank with the Top Product of 2008 award.

How do I Get Registered?

The PhishTank.com web site is very user friendly. You can read articles and view statistics. All it takes to join to report, track and verify phishing scams is to type in a username (one that will be displayed and identity you on the site), an e-mail address, a password you create and a verification code. It’s really that simple. PhishTank means to clean up the scum that threatens to make the internet an unhealthy place to work and play. It offers a virtual sea of information sharing to help educate consumers to protect themselves from the identity thief sharks lurking the internet.

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