Pharming

The Internet fraud called "pharming" is another way of phishing people's personal and banking information in order to steal their money along with their identity. It is done by means of a hacking program that will redirect a common website or online merchant to a fake website that the scammer has created for the fraudulent activity. It often goes unnoticed by the victim until days or weeks later when they realize their funds have gone missing.

This scam starts with the scammer creating a seemingly legitimate website that is very similar to the one they plan on redirecting from. It may be a website of a bank or financial institution, online merchant, financial website such as PayPal, online auction site or other website that often asks for usernames, passwords and other personal information. The website will look real, with the same type of color scheme, web design, graphics and company logos. When the victim visits the webpage they intended to, it will actually redirect to the fake one created by the scammer.

The way the redirecting works is by various vulnerabilities in the Domain Name System (DNS). What the hacker will do is change the computer's knowledge of how a website's domain name maps to its IP address, and will cause the victim's computer to communicate with a different server, thus going to a different website altogether; this technique is called domain hijacking. Upon entering this new, fake website, the victim may be asked for their user name and password, name, address, phone number, or bank account information that helps them to phish whatever information they need to hack into their account and steal their money.

These pharming attacks can victimize a single person who is redirected to the website or a large group of people that when they enter the site and input their information; create a string of stolen identity information for the scammer. It has become known as a "virus" due to its rapid theft potential. While such attacks as phishing and pharming seem hard to detect, it is possible for you to notice enough small warning signs in order to prevent being stolen from. The main focus should be on the website itself when you visit it. Does everything look exactly the same as you remember? It is encouraging you to enter personal information which you know you have submitted in the past and see no logical reason for? Pay attention to small details and if you are ever a victim of this type of Internet fraud, you may be able to prevent it before it's too late.



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