14 Aug 2014

Definition of ‘Spoofing’

A scam in which an attacker pretends to be someone or something else to gain access to your bank account, computer system or to steal your personal information, such as passwords. There are several kinds – including caller ID, email, and uniform resource locator (URL) spoof attacks.

Investopedia explains ‘Spoofing’

In a caller ID attack, a spoofer will falsify the phone number they’re calling from. Email spoofing – used by dishonest advertisers and outright thieves – is when email is sent with falsified “From:” entry to try and trick victims that the message is from a friend, their bank, or some other legitimate source. URL spoofing is when scammers set up a fraudulent website to obtain information from victims or to install viruses on their computers – for instance, targets might be directed to a site that looks like it’s from PayPal, or their credit card company and asked to log in, so that scammers can then log onto the real site and use their account information to steal money. (For more, see: 6 Ways To Protect Yourself From Cybercrime.)

Be extremely cautious whenever you receive a message asking for personal information and only download files from trusted sources. Install firewalls to block suspicious inquiries and keep antivirus software installed and up-to-date on any computer you use. If you get an inquiry seeking personal information, don’t provide it. Hang up (or log off) and then independently look up the phone number or customer service email address from the entity purportedly contacting you to ask if they actually needs the requested information.

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