Have you ever been in a situation where you log into your account, only to find out that some of your xats, days and/or powers are missing? Do you suspect that an unauthorized user may have attempted to compromise your account and succeeded? You might be a victim of what we call "phishing."
What is phishing?
Phishing is a trick used by criminals to steal personally identifiable information, such as your e-mail address and password for example. It is not a security flaw and you are not getting hacked. As long as you know what to look for, you can prevent yourself from being phished. You've probably been warned before by your online bank about phishing websites, but most users don't think or worry about being phished when using their "xat" account. On xat, there are criminals who want to steal your e-mail address, password, xats, days, powers and most of all, your identity.
How does the scam work?
A criminal will start off by creating a page that looks exactly the same as xat's registered user account management page. Then, the criminal will create a link (which will redirect to the page) and come up with a convincing way to lure a user into clicking on the link. An example might be offering xats, days and/or powers for free, as long as you click on the link and enter your e-mail address and password into the text box provided. That is definitely a red flag. Under any circumstances, you should NEVER click on the link, nor should you enter your e-mail address and password, regardless of whether it's free. Just by clicking on the link itself, the criminal may already have your IP address.
NOTE: If you come across a page that asks you for the password that's associated with your e-mail address (not your account), it's a phishing website. xat will NEVER ask you for that under any circumstances. Also, do NOT use the same password for any other e-mail addresses or accounts you may have, even if it has nothing to do with xat. You're only increasing your chances of everything else getting compromised.
Besides creating a duplicate page, there is also another way that criminals are doing to steal personally identifiable information from users. What they're doing is either asking users for their flash shared object file or asking users to download a third party program on their computer called ".sol Editor" and want users to provide them the "Value" that's located above the category "Number." Under any circumstances, do NOT provide them the value that's associated with your account. Giving them the value is just like giving them the password and you will end up being phished.
How can I protect myself?
In order to prevent yourself from getting phished by a criminal, we highly recommend you follow these precautionary steps:
Step #01: When you're logging into your account, ALWAYS make sure you're on xat's registered user account management page. You can find out if you're on the correct page by looking at the URL bar, which is located at the top-left corner of your web browser. If the link shows http://xat.com/web_gear/chat/register.php, you're on the correct page. If it shows anything other than the link provided, do NOT enter your e-mail address or registered username and password on that page. Leave the page immediately and report the phishing website by submitting a ticket under the category "Report Phishing Site." You do not need to be a paid user to submit a ticket under this category.
Step #02: When you're logging into your account, you have the option of either entering the e-mail address that's associated with your account or your registered username. When it comes to entering your password, ALWAYS make sure it's the password that's associated with your account and not your e-mail address. xat will NEVER ask you for the password that's associated with your e-mail address under any circumstances. In order to ensure your account is fully protected, use a password that isn't the same password as your e-mail address. Also, make sure your password is alphanumeric, which consists of both letters and numbers (but not symbols) and make it so it's easy for you to figure out, but hard for a criminal to figure out. As long as it contains at least 10 characters (or more), you'll be all set. Don't make your password too long or you might forget it. We highly recommend you avoid using patterns or words in your password and always change your password on a monthly basis. It's better to be safe than sorry.
Step #03: When it comes to fully protecting your account, we highly recommend you enable the following features: account protection, account locking and account authentication. For more information regarding account protection, click here. For more information regarding account locking, click here. For more information regarding account authentication, click here.
What do I do if I think I've been phished?
If you suspect that an unauthorized user may have compromised your account, do NOT panic. It will only make the situation much worse than it needs to be. The first thing you need to do is change the password to not only your account, but your e-mail address as well, for extra security measures. Also, if you remember the link of the phishing website you were on, report the phishing website as soon as possible by submitting a ticket under the category "Report Phishing Site" and provide as much sufficient information as you can, such as the date and time of when you went on the phishing website and the date and time of when you got phished. The sooner you report the phishing website, the quicker it will take to have the phishing website shut down. Under any circumstances, you should NEVER log into another user's account, even if you've been granted permission to. You will be in direct violation of xat's terms of service. Failure to comply with xat's terms of service will result in your account being torched and/or deleted.