People in Nebraska may have heard of phishing, but they may be unaware of what it exactly is or what the possible effects of it are. Phishing is a type of scam that has exploded with the advent of the Internet. In a phishing scam, the person will send emails, set up websites or make telephone calls to targeted individuals in order to attempt to obtain certain types of identifying information.
When a person opens an email message or problematic attachment, malicious software will install on their hard drive. Visiting certain websites can also result in such installations occurring. Since so many people conduct business over the Internet, these types of software are designed to glean the individual’s information.
Scam artists may then use such things as the person’s name, date of birth, Social Security number, bank account information and passwords in order to either steal their money or to use their identity to open credit accounts for illicit financial gain. Some of the emails may appear to be quite sophisticated, appearing as if they come from an official government agency like the IRS or FBI or looking as if they come from a banking institution. When a person clicks on the included link, they may be directed to a page that looks exactly like the agency’s or bank’s home page. They will then be prompted to enter identifying information which will be stolen as a result.
Phishing scams are prosecuted as theft crimes even when financial gains were not achieved. People who are accused of involvement in a phishing scam may be charged with identity theft even when they did not receive any money. Those who are accused of a phishing crime or are being investigated for alleged involvement may benefit by consulting with a criminal defense attorney.
Source: Microsoft, “How to recognize phishing email messages, links, or phone calls“, December 04, 2014