While I don’t have the research to back this up, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that the majority of identity theft and hacked accounts comes from users voluntarily giving away their information rather than hackers guessing their passwords. Of course this doesn’t include hacking at a corporate or major website level. Many users give away their information and passwords mainly through “phishing” scams. These are emails sent out to users that look legit and appear to be coming from a company that you do business with. The email typically tells you that something has gone wrong with your account or presents a monthly statement/bill that seems outrageous and therefore the unsuspecting user clicks on the link in the email and voluntarily gives their log in information to a fake site that looks just like the real site.
Don’t click on links in emails
The general rule of thumb is that if you do get one of these emails and you want to verify your account, you shouldn’t click on the link in the email. Instead you should go your browser and go to the site in question the way you always do such as typing in the URL or using one of your saved bookmarks/favorites. However, both Mac OS X Mail and iOS Mail can give you a heads up that the link you were sent is fake or not. More often than not the link/button in the email looks like it’s going to take you to the real site, but in fact it’s going to take your to a fake site that’s probably in a different country and doesn’t even have a real domain name.
Use Mail to see where the link really goes before you click/tap on it
In Mac OS X Mail all you have to do is use your mouse to hover the pointer over the link in question and the URL for that link will pop up. Once you see where the site was really trying to take you, you can just smile and mark that email as spam or simply delete it.
You do the same thing in iOS Mail on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Just use your finger and hold down on the link/button to see the popup of where the link is really trying to send you.
A common scare tactic
One more thing that you should watch out for is the “crazy high bill” scare tactic. This is where you receive an email from a company that you may be doing business with such as Verizon wireless and instead of the normal $64/month that you pay, the bill is for over a thousand dollars. This is designed to freak you out so that you click on the link to log into your account immediately to see why your bill is so high.
Always think before you click/tap on that link!