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The term “phishing” goes back to the early days of America Online (AOL) when it charged its customers an hourly rate. Young Internet users with an addiction to their computers, not very much cash, and a bit of larceny in their hearts sent e-mails or instant messages through which they purported to be AOL customer service agents. In these phony e-mails, under those false pretenses, they would ask for their unwary victims’ passwords in order to stay online on someone else’s dime. After a while, this phony expedition, fishing for information, became known as “phishing.”

Now, phishing is the name of the scam whereby you are lured to a phony website that appears to be legitimate, but when you click on links in these phony websites, download material from these websites, or provide information to these websites, you put yourself in danger of identity theft or of downloading dangerous keystroke-logging malware that can steal all the information on your computer including credit card numbers, your Social Security number, passwords, and various account information.

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