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Phishing scams: Stay off the hook

Use better e-mail practices to protect yourself and your veterinary practice from criminals trying to snatch personal information.
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Jul 25, 2011
By dvm360.com staff

If you receive a lot of e-mail, habitually respond to a good portion of it, maintain a lot of online relationships, and conduct a large number of transactions online, you’re more susceptible to e-mail "phishing" expeditions, according to communication researchers at four major universities.

Phishing is a way that sneaky and shady entities attempt to acquire your personal information by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

E-mail phishing is a process that employs such techniques as using the names of credible businesses, government institutions, or current events in conjunction with statements invoking fear, threat, excitement, or urgency, to persuade people to respond with personal and sensitive information like usernames, passwords and credit card details.

Researchers say individuals need to be extra careful when they use a single e-mail account to respond to all e-mails. A better strategy is to use different accounts for different purposes. If one e-mail address is used solely for banking and another is used solely for personal communication with family and friends, it will increase your attention to the details of the e-mail. Also, set aside time to focus and respond to personal e-mails separately from work-related e-mails. For instance, setting aside a time each day for responding to personal banking e-mails gives you time to process them more clearly and consider their legitimacy before responding.