Protect Yourself From New Phishing Schemes

Identity thieves are crafting e-mails that look even more like they were sent by real companies and have more legitimate-sounding requests.

I just received an e-mail from Verizon notifying me that the payment on my broadband account was past due and that I’d need to pay up right away or my service would be cut off. There was a link for me to click to make the payment online. I know to be suspicious of e-mails like this, so I called the Verizon customer-service number on my bill (not the number in the e-mail) to check. It ends up that it is a phishing scam, using a very real-looking e-mail. What should I be doing to protect myself against such scams?

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Kimberly Lankford
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

As the "Ask Kim" columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Lankford receives hundreds of personal finance questions from readers every month. She is the author of Rescue Your Financial Life (McGraw-Hill, 2003), The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance -- and Still Get the Coverage You Need (Kaplan, 2006), Kiplinger's Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, 2007) and The Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families. She is frequently featured as a financial expert on television and radio, including NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio.