Phishing is an illegal attempt to steal your personal information. It is usually an email or a message, that usually links to a website.
It looks like it is genuine, sent from a company you know and trust, for example ebay, or your bank, but it is a fake email sent out by criminals who want your personal information.
They are trying to get you to click onto their fake website and ideally fill in a form with your information (although just visiting their website is sometimes enough for them to try and install software and trackers.)
Below is an example of a phishing email - you can see it looks like it has come from Paypal, but there are some clues that tell you it is fake:
- It does not use the persons name - sometimes they will use part of a name but not the full name
- It does not state an account number
- The language used is not quite right, it is a bit too formal.
- They have put capital letters in strange places - see the first line Information Regarding your Account..
- Sometimes the email or web address can give away a fake too, although this is becoming less so.