What is Phishing?

Phishing is a type of attack carried out in order to steal usernames, passwords, credit card information, Social Security Numbers, and other sensitive data by masquerading as a trustworthy entity. Phishing is most often seen on campus in the form of malicious emails pretending to be from credible sources such as UC Berkeley technology departments or financial organizations related to the university.

By tricking campus users into giving away their information, attackers can:

  • Steal money from victims (modify direct deposit information, drain bank accounts)
  • Perform identity theft (run up charges on credit cards, open new accounts)
  • Send spam from compromised email accounts
  • Use your credentials to access other campus systems, attack other systems, steal confidential University data, and jeopardize the mission of the campus

The goal of most Phishing emails is to trick you into visiting a web site in order to steal your CalNet credentials. Attackers will set up web sites under their control that look and feel like legitimate web sites. Often the Phishing emails will have an immediate call to action that demands you to “update your account information” or “login to confirm ownership of your account”. If you enter your CalNet credentials into these illegitimate web sites you are actually sending your CalNet username and password directly to the attackers.

How can I identify a Phishing scam?

The first rule to remember is to never give out any personal information in an email.  No institution, bank or otherwise, will ever ask for this information via email.  It may not always be easy to tell whether an email or website is legitimate and phishing emails are using social engineering tactics to make create sophisticated scams.

  • In the body of an email, you might see questions asking you to “verify” or “update your account” or “failure to update your records will result in account suspension.” It is usually safe to assume that no credible organization to which you have provided your information will ever ask you to re-enter it, so do not fall for this trap.
  • Any email that asks for your personal or sensitive information should be seriously scoured and not trusted. Even if the email has official logos or text or even links to a legitimate website, it could easily be fraudulent. Never give out your personal information.
Money Laundering Scams?

Internet money laundering “is just a huge problem,” says Susan Grant, director of Internet Fraud Watch at the National Consumers League in Washington, DC. “In fake-check scams, people are losing several thousands of dollars at a pop.”

Money launderers often create job postings that say they’re recruiting American citizens to “process payments” or “transfer funds,” because as foreign nationals, they can’t do it themselves. Their communications sometimes contain broken grammar but may include well-written prose from legitimate employers’ postings.

If a job seeker responds to a fraudulent ad, the scammer will usually write back immediately, saying that the seeker is the perfect candidate and offering a job. Then the scammer usually requests the victim’s bank account number or other personal information. “Nobody legitimate would hire you to use your personal bank account to process these things,” says Grant.

If victims cooperate, they will use their personal bank accounts to move stolen or bad checks, planning to keep a percentage as their pay on the scammers’ instructions. If the scam involves legitimate funds, the victims are never able to hold onto them. In fact, money-laundering victims may be liable to their own banks for depositing the scammer’s rubber checks.

“Almost always, the money the victims are transferring is stolen, and therefore, the victims are committing theft,” writes Pam Dixon in a report for World Privacy Forum.

And remember: “If any reasonable person would have asked questions and you didn’t, you could go to prison for 20 years,”

Reshipping Fraud?

Reshipping, or postal forwarding, scam victims are typically offered an at-home job that involves repackaging stolen goods — frequently consumer electronics — and forwarding them, often outside the United States. Scammers ask victims to shell out their own shipping charges, and pay reimbursement and compensation with a fake check.

In addition to seeing their own paychecks bounce, those who fall for reshipping scams may be liable for shipping charges and even the cost of goods purchased online with stolen credit cards.

How can the victims be criminally liable? For starters, they handled goods that were stolen and followed scammers’ instructions to lie on US Customs Service forms if they forwarded packages abroad.

Protecting yourself from fraud and cyber crime?

To stop yourself becoming a victim of identity fraud, you can follow these tips to help keep your personal information safe:


  • 1. Don’t give out personal information (name, address, bank details, email or phone number) to organisations or people before verifying their credentialsAlways question unsolicited calls, texts or emails requesting your personal or financial information
  • 2. Make sure your computer has up-to-date anti-virus software and a firewall installed. Ensure your browser is set to the highest level of security and monitoring to prevent malware issues and computer crimes.Installing, or enabling, antivirus software on your laptops and computers will protect them from viruses and hackers.

    If you receive an email or SMS that looks odd – Don’t open any links or attachments. These can put a virus on your phone or computer.

  • 3. Many frauds start with a phishing email. Remember that banks and financial institutions won’t send you an email asking you to click on a link and confirm your bank details. Don’t trust such emails, even if they look genuine.You can always call your bank using the phone number on a genuine piece of correspondence, website (typed directly into the address bar) or the phone book to check if you’re not sure.
  • 4. Destroy and preferably shred receipts with your card details on and post with your name and address on. Identity fraudsters don’t need much information in order to be able to clone your identity.
What should I do if I suspect a call, text or email is fraudulent?

If you feel you may be a victim of a phishing, vishing or smishing scam, contact us (or the business in question) immediately to ensure no fraudulent activity has occurred and report it to GeldWealthRecovery To alert us to any suspected fraud or scam, please email us at enquiries@financialspringrecovery and we’ll be happy to help you.

If you have a call that you suspect is an attempt at fraud, hang up and call a number that you know is genuine from a different phone from the one you were previously talking on.

For more information on Fraud and how to protect yourself:


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