Phishing refers to a message, usually delivered via email (and less frequently via telephone), that falsely claims to be from a lawful business or otherwise legitimate entity or person.

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The message attempts to entice the recipient into providing personal information such as Social Security, credit card, and bank account numbers. This information, if obtained, is later used to commit identity theft. In addition to phishing that targets personal information, many phishing attacks are aimed at obtaining sensitive business information, like corporate bank account numbers. "Fraudulent instruction" (e.g., a message claiming to be from a company's CEO and instructing a mid-level employee to wire transfer a sum of money to a certain account) can also be considered a form of phishing.


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Personally identifiable information refers to any information that can be used to uniquely...