Phishing emails get more personalized

June 20, 2011 2:15:55 PM PDT
In the past, you've simply been, "Dear valued customer," the target of an email phishing scam without a name.

But some big security breaches this year have given scammers more information, and more sophisticated scams to swipe more data from consumers.

Spear phishing emails are more personalized, and possibly more convincing to a recipient. By personally addressing the email, the recipient is more likely to look at the email or at the very least, click on it.

Legitimate establishments hardly, if ever, ask for sensitive information in an email. But spear phishing emails make it seem perfectly logical to reply with a bank account password, social security number, or other personal data, or even click on a link, that can then open access to what's stored on your computer.

As a possible solution to prevent this situation, even if it doesn't look like it's a spear phishing attack, but it comes to you from a government agency, from a financial services institution, or even from a lifestyle company, what you want to do is kind of see where it's coming from, and go directly to the site.

So if you're really not sure about an email, don't reply, and get in touch directly with the company or entity to find out.