How to recognize phishing email messages, links, or phone calls

Phishing email messages, websites, and phone calls are designed to steal personal information, account login/password and money. Cybercriminals can do this by installing malicious software on your computer or stealing personal information off of your computer.

Cybercriminals also use social engineering to convince you to install malicious software or hand over your personal information under false pretenses. They might email you, call you on the phone, or convince you to download something off of a website.

What does a phishing email message look like?

Here is an example of what a phishing scam in an email message might look like.

Dear User, Your puppyfinder account on our website was deactivated for fraudulent activities. If you think this is a mistake please click to the link below for account reactivation and verification http://puppyfindersafetyteam.yolasite.com/ . You have only 12 hours for verification or else your account will be disable permanently on our website.

  • Spelling and bad grammar. Cybercriminals are not known for their grammar and spelling. Professional companies or organizations usually have a staff of copy editors that will not allow a mass email like this to go out to its users. If you notice mistakes in an email, it might be a scam.
  • Beware of links in email. If you see a link in a suspicious email message, don't click on it. Rest your mouse (but don't click) on the link to see if the address matches the link that was typed in the message. In the example below the link reveals the real web address, It looks nothing like the company's web address .http://www.puppyfinder.com/fraud <>
  • Threats. Have you ever received a threat that your account would be closed if you didn't respond to an email message? The email message shown above is an example of the same trick. Cybercriminals often use threats that your security has been compromised.
  • Spoofing popular websites or companies. Scam artists use graphics in email that appear to be connected to legitimate websites but actually take you to phony scam sites or legitimate-looking pop-up windows. Cybercriminals also use web addresses that resemble the name of puppyfinder but are slightly altered. For example:  http://puppyfinder-fraud-center.webnode.com  or http://puppyfindersecurityteam.tk or www.puppyfinder-verifycation-center.yolasite.com

Beware of phishing phone calls

Cybercriminals might call you on the phone and offer to help solve your computer problems or to offer help with ad placement. Neither Puppyfinder.com nor our partners make unsolicited phone calls (also known as cold calls) to charge you for computer security or software fixes.

Once they've gained your trust, cybercriminals might ask for your user name and password or ask you to go to a website to install software that will let them access your computer to fix it. Once you do this, your computer and your personal information is vulnerable.

Treat all unsolicited phone calls with skepticism. Do not provide any personal information.

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