There's another type of fishing going on in Hawaii and it's called "phishing."
Phishing is an attempt to trick you into giving up personal information through emails, phone calls or even text messages that appear as if sent by a legitimate organization or someone you might know. Phishing emails will try and trick you into clicking on a link which directs you to a fraudulent web site that appears legitimate. From there you may be asked to provide personal information such as account usernames and passwords and your computer could even be infected by malicious code. Telephone operators and text messaging phishing scams are becoming more popular, all of which can lead to identity theft, your money getting stolen or both.
According to Avira, an Internet Security Company, the United States gets hit with roughly 50% of the world's total Phishing emails. This means that if you have an email address then there's a 95% chance that you will get at least one phishing email this year. These emails ususally come from servers overseas where the United States often has a difficult time pursuing such criminals. If successful, they can open back accounts in your name, gain access to your personal financial accounts or buy things and have creditors pursue you for payment.
Although there is software available for your computer to help filter out some of these messages and web-based email services such as Gmail and Yahoo! mail do a great job of doing this for you, your best weapon is common sense.
Here are 3 quick and easy tips to avoid becoming the victim of a phishing scam:
1) Be suspicious of any unsolicited phone calls, visits, emails or text messages where you are asked to provide any personal information whatsoever. You can contact the company yourself and find out if the request is legitimate.
2) Just because you received email from someone you know doesn't mean that it's safe. Phishing often involves emails disguised as messages from friends and co-workers. Don't be fooled!
3) Protect yourself and your computer with anti-virus and firewall software and keep it up-to-date.
If you feel that you've been a victim of a phishing scam and your financial accounts have been compromised then be sure to contact your financial institution and let them know right away. If you would like to report or find out more about phishing then the following may be of assisstance:
United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (http://www.us-cert.gov/nav/report_phishing.html)
US Department of Homeland Security website that allows you to report phishing scams
FraudWatch International (http://www.fraudwatchinternational.com/phishing/)
Searchable database of current and previous phishing scams on the Internet
Remember, be wary and use common sense. It's your best weapon.