How to Avoid Phishing Scams How to Avoid Phishing Scams

1. Be suspicious of any e-mail or other message containing an urgent request for your personal information.
Phishing scams typically include upsetting or exciting (but false) statements to encourage victims to act immediately. They typically ask for information such as your CompuServe screen name or other usernames and passwords, credit card numbers, Soci\ al Security numbers and more. Remember, CompuServe will never ask you for your password in an e-mail or instant message.

2. Even if you think a request for information may be legitimate, don't click on the links in the e-mail.
Sometimes links can be disguised to look as if they're taking you to a real site, when they're actually taking you to a scam site. Instead of clicking a link, type the Web site's address by hand to ensure that you go to the company or organization's\ legitimate website.

If the request for information is coming from a company or organization that you trust and have a relationship with, call them directly to confirm whether they actually need the information and, if so, whether you can provide it over the telephone.

3. Be extremely careful if you share personal or financial information online.
CompuServe recommends that you never provide sensitive information via e-mail or instant message. Providing this information via a company's Web site is acceptable only if you are certain that the site is legitimate, and the site is secured (see bel\ ow for additional info).

4. If you submit information to a Web site, make sure the site is secure.
Look for the "lock" icon on the status bar at the bottom of your browser window. The lock icon typically appears in the lower right-hand corner of the browser window. In addition, check the beginning of the URL or Web address - if it start\ s with "https://," rather than just "http://," you're on a secure server.

5. Review credit card and other account statements regularly.
If you see anything suspicious, contact your bank and all your credit card issuers immediately. If your statement is late by more than two or three days, call your credit card company or bank to confirm your billing address and account balances.

6. Keep your operating system and Web browser up to date.
To update your Windows® operating system and your Internet Explorer® browser, go to windowsupdate.microsoft.com. Follow the instructions there to check for updates, then download and in\ stall any critical updates.

7. Install and run anti-virus software and update it frequently.
CompuServe makes finding anti-virus software easy by providing you with direct links to preferred vendors offering reputable anti-virus solutions.

Registry Mechanic
Additional Anti-Virus Downloads

No matter which anti-virus program you use, make sure you keep it up-to-date, or it will provide less and less protection over time. Instructions for updating your software should be included in your program's manual or help area. You can also check\ the program manufacturer's Web site for instructions.

8. Install and run spyware software and update it frequently.
CompuServe makes finding spyware protection easy by providing you with direct links to preferred vendors offering reputable spyware solutions.

Spy Sweeper
Spyware Doctor
Additional Spyware

9. Run firewall software on your computer.
A firewall is your computer's first line of defense against harmful attacks from the Internet. If you have a broadband connection, use firewall software to hide your computer from hackers and help protect it from destructive computer Trojans and wor\ ms. CompuServe makes finding firewall software easy by providing you with direct links to preferred vendors offering reputable firewall solutions.

Firewall Downloads

10. Report any phishing scams you receive to the following organizations.
Report e-mail phishing scams to CompuServe by clicking the "Forward" button at the right and typing Screen Names ActionTeam, TOSReport in the Send To box, then press the "Send Now" button. This will forward the potentially danger\ ous message to CompuServe's experts who will take appropriate action against the scammers.

Forward the scam e-mail to the company featured in the e-mail if it is a legitimate company.

Forward the entire e-mail to the Federal Trade Commission at spam@uce.gov.

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