It can be dangerous navigating the Internet. There are plenty of predators who are trying to steal your money, identity, or computer's operability. But, if you know what steps to take and what things to avoid, you can browse the Internet safely and successfully.
Snopes.com defines phishing as "a term which refers to the online imitation of a company's branding in spoofed e-mail messages and web sites, created with the intent of fooling unsuspecting users into divulging personal information such as passwords, credit card numbers, PINs, etc”. A typical "phish" e-mail will appear to come from a financial institution (such as a bank or credit card company), informing the recipient that some type of problem has affected their account and directing them to follow a provided hyperlink (web link) to clear up the problem. The hyperlink leads not to a legitimate site, however, but to a server (usually in another country) on which an imitation web site has been set up. The fooled customer is then prompted to enter confidential personal information (collected by the scammers for perpetrating identify theft) and then (usually) the customer is redirected to the legitimate web site to obscure the fact that they just gave away data to the scammers.
Phishing sites can also include malicious elements that are intended to take advantage of computer and web browser vulnerabilities. Even if you don't enter personal information on the spoofed web site, you could be putting your computer's security in danger simply by clicking on the link in the spoofed message. The best way to protect yourself from phishing scams is to never click on the link in an unexpected or suspicious email message you receive.