A Howick area man is out $100 after his computer was compromised.

The 32-year-old victim reported to police last Thursday that he was trying to update a program on his computer.

During the update process he followed the prompts and instructions that ultimately gave the scammer access to his computer.

Later that day he noticed $100 missing from his bank account.

This is a ‘phishing’ scam.

The word ‘phishing’ comes from the analogy that scammers are fishing for passwords and financial data from the sea of internet users.

Phishing, also called “brand spoofing” is the creation of email messages and web pages that are replicas of existing, legitimate sites and businesses.

These web sites and emails are used to trick users into submitting personal, financial, or password data.

These emails often ask for information such as credit card numbers, bank account information, social insurance numbers and passwords that will be used to commit fraud.

The goal of criminals using brand spoofing is to lead consumers to believe that a request for information is coming from a legitimate company.

In reality, it is a malicious attempt to collect customer information for the purpose of committing fraud.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre provides the following tips on how to spot and avoid phishing scams.

·         Protect your computer with anti-virus software, spyware filters, email filters and firewall programs.

·         If you suspect suspicious activity contact your financial institution immediately.

·         Do not reply to emails that request your personal information.

If you have received a suspicious email please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or the OPP at 1-888-310-1122.