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Websense Security Labs has issued figures showing a massive increase in phishing websites. According to the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG), the number of phishing scam websites is rising by roughly 50 per cent month on month.

Phishing sites trick people into revealing confidential information such as social security numbers and credit card information details by imitating legitimate business sites.

However, Websense's research also shows that a new type of phishing website has emerged. These do not imitate established companies, but pretend to be an entirely new company, offering products or services over the internet.

Accordingly, Websense advises punters to watch out for the following:

  • Fraudulent pharmacy, banks, mortgage and loan websites. These are reckoned to be the most popular scam portals.
  • Sites lacking proper contact info. Most scam websites have fake contact information, don't have contact information (except occasional email), or the sites are out of service.
  • Short life: Fraud-based websites survive an average of 8.5 days - longer than phishing sites but a good indicator of nefarious activity.
  • Where's the site based? The majority of fraud-based websites are hosted outside the USA.

And, naturally, you should never give confidential information to anyone unless you are absolutely certain that they are legit. ®

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