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Criminals use a variety of tactics to steal people’s personal information. One method of doing so is called phishing. When a phishing attempt is successful, it often results in the release of a person’s personal information, which criminals then utilize to commit identity theft. In this article, we discuss how to avoid phishing attacks to prevent identity theft.  

An Overview of Phishing

A phishing attempt often begins with an email that appears to come from a legitimate company, such as a financial institution. Sometimes, a phishing email may appear to come from a government agency. Often, recipients believe that these emails are from institutions and companies that they have relationships with—and this is the intention of the scammers who send out such emails. After clicking on a link in a phishing email, the recipient is often redirected to a phony website where he or she is tricked into providing his or her personal information. Such emails also sometimes direct recipients to a legitimate website, only to have a pop-up window appear that is used to harvest personal financial information. In either case, recipients may be asked to update their account information or provide personal information, such as Social Security numbers, passwords, and account numbers.

Protecting Yourself from Phishing Attacks

Fortunately, there are many ways to protect yourself from phishing attacks, including: 

  • Never give out your personal information in response to an unsolicited online, email, or phone request. As noted above, scammers create web pages and emails that look legitimate. So, if you didn’t initiate the contact with the institution, don’t provide any personal information. 
  • If you believe an email you receive is legitimate, contact the institution by phone. You should be able to locate the institution’s phone number online or on your monthly statement. This way, you are the one initiating contact using information that you have found from a legitimate source. 
  • Never give out your password in response to an unsolicited phone or online request. Legitimate institutions never request this type of information over the phone or online. 
  • Finally, regularly review your account statements to ensure accuracy. When reviewing your account statements, keep a lookout for suspicious activity or charges. If something doesn’t look right, this can be a sign of identity theft. 

Contact a Consumer Class Action Lawyer 

If you are a victim of identity theft, you should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. When you come to attorney Seth Lehrman for help, we will provide you with the legal guidance necessary to get your life back on track. In addition, if your personal information was stolen from an entity with which you’ve entrusted your personal information, we will take the steps necessary to hold the responsible company accountable. Please contact Lehrman Law today to arrange a free initial consultation with our talented and experienced lawyer.