Police warn about online ‘phishing’ fraud

  • Jan. 5, 2011 4:09 p.m.

Local police are stepping up the warnings about ‘phishing’ frauds online.

Phishing can take place both over the phone or online, said Cpl. Kathe DeHeer of the Red Deer city RCMP. Phishing is where a fraudster creates fake web sites which replicate

existing legitimate sites.

The fraudsters might also send e-mails which appear to be from legitimate businesses in an attempt to lure people to their false sites. The web sites and emails are used to trick citizens into providing personal information such as credit card numbers, bank account information, a SIN number, passwords or PIN numbers.

The goal of the fraudster is to lead citizens to believe that the request is coming from a legitimate company when it is actually an attempt to collect your personal information for a fraudulent purpose.

Police say that online shopping sites are frequently targeted by fraudsters in a number of ways, and that people should be very cautious when providing information after either purchasing or selling on-line.

There have been instances where a fraudster has placed a fake browser bar over the real

one which appears legitimate, however, when selected it takes users to a phishing site.

To help cut down on such cases, PayPal recommends users always log into PayPal by opening a new browser and typing in their address instead of using the link. Police also offer tips tips to help protect the public from phishing including verifying addresses given in emails.

Firstly, legitimate businesses do not have hotmail, gmail or other similar email addresses.

It’s also vital to consider that most businesses (such as banks) will not solicit personal information through e-mail or telephone. Also, people should look for the security lock icon in the status bar. It should not be contained inside the window — if it is, it is not legitimate.

A secure site will also have HTTS in the address, if it is not there then the site is not secure.

It’s also a good idea to look for spelling, typographical, and grammatical errors.