DEFINITION of 'Phishing'

A method of identity theft carried out through the creation of a website that seems to represent a legitimate company. The visitors to the site, thinking they are buying something from a real business, submit their personal information to the site. The criminals then use the personal information for their own purposes, or sell the information to other criminal parties.

BREAKING DOWN 'Phishing'

A classic example of phishing is an identity thief setting up a website that looks like it belongs to a major bank. Then, that thief sends out many emails that claim to be from the major bank and request the email recipients to input their personal banking information (such as their PIN) into the website so the bank may update their records. Once the scammer gets a hold of the needed personal information, they attempt to access the victim's bank account.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Medical Identity Theft

    Stealing another person’s health insurance information so that ...
  2. Data Breach

    A data breach is an unauthorized access and retrieval of sensitive ...
  3. Customer Information File (CIF)

    A computerized file that stores all pertinent information about ...
  4. Cyber Identity

    Cyber identity refers to the personality or personalities that ...
  5. Identity Fraud Reimbursement Program

    A financial product that offers reimbursment for the costs associated ...
  6. Personal Income

    Personal income is the total compensation received by an individual. ...
Related Articles
  1. Tech

    Cybersecurity: Protect Yourself This Tax Season

    Take a little extra time to review online communications and avoid becoming a cybercrime victim.
  2. Investing

    5 New Phishing Scams To Watch Out For

    These five scams may seem transparent, but thousands of people fall for them annually.
  3. Tech

    Tips For Keeping Your Financial Data Safe Online

    Find out how to protect your personal information from phishers, scammers and thieves.
  4. Taxes

    How To Safeguard Your Tax Returns From Identity Theft

    Identity thieves love tax season. In 2012, there were 13 million victims of identity theft. As easy as it is for thieves to steal your information, there are also simple measures you can take ...
  5. Insights

    Are You A Target For Identity Thieves?

    The Americans at highest risk for identity theft and identity fraud aren't the ones you most expect. See if you're on the high-risk list.
  6. Insights

    Identity Theft: How Much Should You Worry?

    Identity fraud cost $18 billion last year. But are enough Americans victimized – with big enough losses – that it's worth buying protection?
  7. Financial Advisor

    The Top 7 Mistakes Financial Advisors Make With Websites

    Advisors need to avoid these seven deadly sins when designing a website.
  8. Tech

    3 Steps to Protect Yourself After a Security Breach

    Three steps you can take to protect yourself from an online security breach.
  9. Personal Finance

    What To Do If Your Identity Is Stolen

    Having your identity stolen is a nightmare. If you are ever faced with the situation, use these steps to alleviate the problem.
  10. Tech

    11 Ways to Help Prevent Identity Theft

    Identity theft is no joke. Here are 11 ways to help prevent falling victim to it.
RELATED FAQS
  1. Is getting a free credit report safe?

    Discover whether getting a free credit report is safe, and find out how to get a legitimate free credit report. Understand ... Read Answer >>
  2. What are the top Social Security scams targeted at the elderly?

    Prevent Social Security scams by learning to recognize the most common types of scams that target senior citizens receiving ... Read Answer >>
  3. Why would someone change their Social Security number?

    Learn the reasons a person might choose to change his Social Security number, including identity theft and abuse, and discover ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Net Present Value - NPV

    Net Present Value (NPV) is the difference between the present value of cash inflows and the present value of cash outflows ...
  2. Price-Earnings Ratio - P/E Ratio

    The Price-to-Earnings Ratio or P/E ratio is a ratio for valuing a company that measures its current share price relative ...
  3. Internal Rate of Return - IRR

    Internal Rate of Return (IRR) is a metric used in capital budgeting to estimate the profitability of potential investments.
  4. Limit Order

    An order placed with a brokerage to buy or sell a set number of shares at a specified price or better.
  5. Current Ratio

    The current ratio is a liquidity ratio that measures a company's ability to pay short-term and long-term obligations.
  6. Return on Investment (ROI)

    Return on Investment (ROI) is a performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or compare the efficiency ...
Trading Center