Online fraud is conducted electronically through your computer. It can be accomplished through acts known as phishing and pharming, or through spyware and viruses.
Phishing is a type of online fraud where you are tricked into providing your personal information through your computer. By posing as individuals or organizations you know, trust and maybe have relationships with, "phishers" seek to obtain your computer passwords, credit card numbers or bank account information so they can use them fraudulently.
How Phishing Works
In most phishing attacks, you will receive an e-mail or pop-up message appearing to be from a company you've done business with or an individual you know. Phishing e-mails oftentimes request passwords or personal information, like a Social Security Number, credit card numbers or bank information. Phishing e-mails frequently have an urgent, demanding tone and encourage you to act right away by replying with personal information or clicking on a link.
What Phishing Does
Phishing is most frequently used to steal important personal information that can be used later to commit identity theft, including unauthorized transactions.
How To Know If You've Been Phished
Indications that you may have been a victim of phishing, include:
How To Avoid Being Phished
If you receive an e-mail that looks unfamiliar to you, or seems out of character for the institution or individual that sent it, do the following:
Remember e-mails from PNC will NEVER ask you for your personal information. If you receive an e-mail that appears to be from PNC that asks for personal information, notify us immediately.
Pharming is one of the more difficult types of online fraud to detect. And, the results of pharming can be devastating to your finances and your identity.
How Pharming Works
In a pharming scam, traffic intended for one website is redirected to a fraudulent online address. You can unknowingly become part of a pharming fraud in one of two ways. First you can be "pharmed" by visiting unfamiliar websites where hackers alter the host files on your computer while you're visiting. You can also be pharmed if a server connected to your computer is compromised and allows your personal online account information to be hacked.
What Pharming Does
Like phishing, pharming is most often used to steal important personal information that can be used later to commit identity theft.
How To Know If You've Been Pharmed
Indications that you may have been a pharming victim include:
How To Avoid Being Pharmed
The following tips can help you protect yourself from pharming:
Spyware are dangerous programs that attack your computer and gather personal information without your knowledge. Viruses may alter or destroy important information on your computer.
How Spyware And Viruses Work
Spyware monitors when and how you use your computer, as well as the information you enter into it. Spyware can also track your e-mails and visits to websites. Spyware programs are installed on computers without the users ever knowing. Sources of spyware most often include e-mails, e-mail links and websites.
Viruses are most often planted on computers by e-mails, through visits to websites or by clicking on links in pop-ups or e-mail messages.
What Spyware And Viruses Do
Spyware is used to steal important personal information that can be useful in identity theft. Viruses can corrupt files or even permanently disable your computer's hard drive.
How To Know If Your Computer Has Spyware And Viruses
You may have spyware on your computer if you:
A virus may be present on your computer if:
How To Avoid Spyware And Viruses
The following tips can help you protect yourself from spyware and viruses: