Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Phishing Scams

If you’re reading this post, you either own a computer or have access to one through some other means.  In either case, you certainly make use of the net and likely have an e-mail account that you access frequently.  As a result, I’m sure that while you’ve used computers, you’ve encountered incessant pop-ups claiming that your computer is infested with a virus and must be immunised before your hard drive is erased, causing you to lose all of your valuable information.  Likewise, I’m sure you’ve also received e-mails claiming to be sent by your bank or credit card company, suggesting that you must act immediately to rectify a problem or you’ll lose access to your hard-earned money.  And we can’t forget those instances when you receive a message—pop-up, e-mail, or text—saying that you’ve won a coveted vacation or prize and will miss out if you don’t contact the sender instantaneously.

These phishing scams are specifically designed to make you panic such that you share personal information such as usernames, passwords, credit card details, or, worse yet, send money to someone who promises to resolve the issue or process the documentation required for you to be eligible for a prize or trip.  But, how is it that so many people have fallen for these scams, in turn causing identity theft and/or major financial loss?  The answer to this question is quite simple…

Many see the internet as infallible, without malice, and full of truth.  They fail to understand how malicious people are just waiting in the background to pounce on the unsuspecting.  When presented with a chance to get something for nothing, others cannot pass on the opportunity and jump in with both feet, drowning in the process.  I especially feel bad for the elderly who fall prey to these thieves, lacking experience with technology and not realizing that these sorts of things are being done.

I lay blame on the conglomerates that bombard us through every means possible with advertisements that draw us towards their products.  It’s at the point where many companies charge you extra when you choose to conduct business with them using any other means than the one they force upon you.  It’s no wonder why people are so easily caught off guard!

And what are you to do about this?  I really can’t say; on one hand, the internet is so useful and can simplify things tremendously, but on the other, with one’s identity in jeopardy, using the internet can be a risky endeavour!  I am resigned to the fact that there isn’t much that can be done about the whole thing, leading me to my fallback plan: Blame it on fast foods.

- B. J. T. Pepin


  1. It's getting to the point that if you pick up the phone and answer "yes" to their question you can be the recipient of a negative surprise.

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