The Phishing Scam

In order to protect oneself from becoming the victim of a phishing scam, it is advised to understand the history, background and growth of this form of Internet crime.

The First Recorded Phishing Scam

According to Wikipedia the first occurrence of this type of scam was recorded by AOL in the mid to late 1990’s. In these early scams, phishers would access account and password details of members and use these to access their accounts for spamming purposes. This resulted in a number of software developments that are now commonplace by internet service providers.

The Phishing Scam Goes Financial

Phishers saw an opportunity and grasped it. If they were able to access details to spam, then why not access details to steal money? Credit cards were used on the Internet long before Internet banking and other online financial institutions emerged. This meant that credit card fraud on the Internet became the next target. The IC3 is one of the most up to date organizations that monitor, police and record fraud of any kind on the Internet. Even though credit card fraud has been around since the turn of the century, according to their latest figures, it still constitutes nine percent of crimes committed online in the USA.

Phishing Develops Further

Prior to mid 2003, the average phishing scam would arrive in the user’s inbox as a text heavy email with shocking grammar and many spelling mistakes. This was usually the key to identifying them. However, very quickly the discerning criminal improved his design and approach. According to the Washington Post, the history of aggressive phishing began in September 2003. This month saw crooks registering domain names that resembled real organizations and big brands such as and October of that year recorded these web addresses being imbedded into emails that contained authentic design elements of the relevant companies. The phishers would then direct the users to the fake site and request details there.

Phishing Perfected

This way of committing the crime has become the basis for modern day phishing. The crime has however developed and been perfected so much so that in some cases, it is almost impossible for an unsuspecting victim to detect that they are being scammed. Sometimes, not even software developments and spyware can keep up to date with the latest scams, but of course they endeavor to protect worldwide users as best they can.