Apple fans will be quick to tell you that most Macs don’t ever have to worry about malware or viruses, but good old-fashioned phishing has raised its ugly head again recently… and anyone can fall prey to that.

According to TUAW, Apple customers are being targeted by scammers who present them with a very Apple-esque-looking statement that their billing records are “out of date” and must be immediately updated at a link provided from within the email. If you follow the link and update, you’ll find yourself giving your billing information to scammers. This is a practice known as “phishing”, which is intended to trick you into thinking you’re giving sensitive information to an approved or authorized party. Sort of a scumbag’s version of a masquerade party.

Luckily, Apple has given you some tools with which to protect yourself: Mail.app allows you to examine URLs from within an email by hovering your mouse over it. If you receive an email that wants you to click through and enter your sensitive or private information on a remote server somewhere, check the link by hovering your mouse and carefully check the domain (meaning the part of the URL that ends in “.com” or “.net”, etc). If it’s not the domain you’re expecting, don’t click through.

[quote]To be extra cautious, you should avoid clicking on links in an email and go directly to Apple’s website by typing in “store.apple.com” into your web browser. Once you’ve manually logged into your Apple account, you can then update your billing information, if necessary.[/quote]

Phishing is one of those things that is best blocked not by software or firewalls, but by common sense. It doesn’t take much to learn how to protect yourself, so make sure you do!

Source: TUAW