The practice of pharming takes time and effort on behalf of the scammer, but is very effective in collecting personal and sensitive information. While the practice is common, the term pharming is rarely talked about. What is pharming, and how do hackers use it to find personal information?
Scammers use pharming to gather large amounts of personal information through a fake domain name. When pharming, scammers set up a fake URL (often similar to the website they are trying to mimic) and design the website to look identical to a genuine website they are copying. The user is often directed to these fake websites through other phishing means (some of which we've discussed in previous posts) and when their information is entered, it is saved by the scammer for use in the real website.
The websites that are most often mimicked are those of banks, email providers, and online retailers. Inattentive users may not notice the different URL and enter their login information for the genuine website, or even their credit card information.
The best ways to avoid falling for a pharming scam are:
- Checking the URL: The simple and easy way to avoid ever falling prey to pharming. Ensuring the URLs you see are correct, down to each letter, is paramount.
- Watch for inconsistencies: If the website layout suddenly seems outdated, features do not work as intended, or information seems to be incorrect, it may be a sign that the website is not genuine.
- Practice caution clicking on links from unknown sources: If the link is sent from an unknown source, there is no way to know if it is malicious or not in intent. Always use common sense.
Stay Safe. Stay Secure.