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.


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.

  1. Identity Theft

    The crime of obtaining the personal or financial information ...
  2. Medical Identity Theft

    Stealing another person’s health insurance information so that ...
  3. Fullz

    A slang term that criminals who steal credit card information ...
  4. Spoofing

    A type of deception where an intruder attempts to gain unauthorized ...
  5. Social Engineering

    Social engineering is the act of exploiting human weaknesses ...
  6. Disaster Recovery Site

    A disaster recovery site, also known as a backup site, is a place ...
Related Articles
  1. Tech

    Whose Fault Is Identity Theft?

    You've been so careful, so how did they get your information? Who is really to blame for your identity being stolen?
  2. Tech

    5 Ways to Avoid Identity Fraud

    Identity theft was the number one consumer complaint in 2014. Here are some ways you can protect yourself.
  3. Insights

    Pros And Cons Of Credit Monitoring Services

    Identity theft is a complex problem. Learn if credit monitoring services are the solution.
  4. Financial Advisor

    Top Hacks to Protect Clients from Tax Scams

    There are many ways that clients can be victimized in today’s digital world, but there are also many ways to protect against these invasions. Here are some.
  5. Personal Finance

    The New Ways Thieves Are Stealing Your Identity

    How are thieves now using new technology, like social media and old mobile phones, to steal identities?
  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. Insights

    Are Identity Theft Protection Services Worth Having?

    Start here before deciding whether you need this coverage.
  8. Tech

    Equifax Breach: How to Protect Your Data

    Cybersecurity concerns are the new norm. Here's what to do if your data has been breached.
  9. Financial Advisor

    How to Nail Your Advisory Firm's Website

    Your website can be your most powerful tool for generating leads and establishing credibility and expertise. Here are tips on how to maintain it.
  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.
  1. What is a "phishing scam" and how can they be avoided?

    The term phishing (as in fishing for confidential information) refers to a scam that fraudulently obtains and uses an individual's ... Read Answer >>
  2. 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 >>
  3. 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 >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Entrepreneur

    An Entrepreneur is an individual who founds and runs a small business and assumes all the risk and reward of the venture. ...
  2. Money Market

    The money market is a segment of the financial market in which financial instruments with high liquidity and very short maturities ...
  3. Perfect Competition

    Pure or perfect competition is a theoretical market structure in which a number of criteria such as perfect information and ...
  4. Compound Interest

    Compound Interest is interest calculated on the initial principal and also on the accumulated interest of previous periods ...
  5. Income Statement

    A financial statement that measures a company's financial performance over a specific accounting period. Financial performance ...
  6. Leverage Ratio

    A leverage ratio is any one of several financial measurements that look at how much capital comes in the form of debt, or ...
Trading Center