I like to think I’m pretty savvy about spotting phishing and other e-mail scams. I have always said that your bank or credit card company (or any financial institution, for that matter) will never ask for your personal information via an e-mail. Most of these phishing scams are easy to spot — just hovering your mouse of the link you’re supposed to click will reveal that you’re not really being taken to the Citibank, or PayPal, or eBay website — instead you’re being taken to a mocked-up website created by the scammers.
But they’re getting smarter — check out this new phishing trick. If you are using Firefox or Opera, you can click on those links and you’ll be taken to Google. But if you try it using Internet Explorer, you’ll find yourself taken to a very different website. The author’s advice is sound: “NEVER NEVER NEVER click on a link in an e-mail. Always type in the URL in the address bar of your browser.” (Thanks to Roger Bonine for the pointer)
If you’re just not sure whether that site is legitimate, check out Trustwatch, a domain verification service. You can download the anti-fraud toolbar that will tell you instantly whether that site you’re visiting is trustworthy.