Phishing is when a spammer sends out an email, with content that makes the recipient think that it is a legitimate site, in hopes of obtaining personal information. Phishing emails ask for personal information, especially credit card numbers and social security numbers. They may merely ask you to click on a link, which then installs a file on your computer that mines your computer for passwords and other important numbers, in hopes of catching the right combination of log in IDs and passwords. The spammer may sell lists of thousands, perhaps millions of these numbers to other spammers, who then continue to make charges on the credit card numbers that they have stolen.
Identity theft is a huge problem in the electronic age. With a few choice bits of information, such as your name, social security number, mother’s maiden name, or an important password, criminals can open charge accounts and make transactions without your knowledge. This is why checking phone statements, bank statements, and credit reports on a regular basis is essential.