Phishing is a way for outsiders to obtain personal and proprietary data. Phishing attempts can be through email messages, websites, and phone calls to trick recipients into providing sensitive data.
Personally identifiable information (PII) is information that can be used to locate or identify an individual. Loss of such information may lead to identity theft or other fraudulent use.
Examples of PII include:
- Full name
- Social Security Number
- Phone number
- Credit card number
- Driver's license
- Bank account information
Legitimate companies typically will not ask you to "verify or update account information" via email. Hackers send these types of messages to trick you into divulging your personal information.
Ways to minimize the risks of exposing your PII:
- If you receive an email or pop-up message asking for your PII, don't reply or click on the link. (Delete the message)
- Never open unscreened mail from unknown contacts. If in doubt, delete it.
- Be aware of emails that seem to come from "friends". Hackers use this mechanism to try to get you to open up attachments or click on links.
- If you receive an email requesting to confirm your password, delete it.
- If you are shopping online, never provide your personal or financial information through the website until you have checked for indicators that the site is secure. Web site addresses should start with https and a lock icon should be present.