Phishing can be sophisticated or simple. In its simple forms it is not new or novel. It is as simple as the information cards you fill out at displays or information fairs. Take for example the win the free car booth you pass in the mall. In order to “win the car” you fill out a card that lists some of your personal information i.e. your name and address. This is a type of phishing and in this format is legal.
There are more complex forms of phishing that are the state of the art in crime. These are the fake web sites that pose as real web sites for banks and other financial institutions. These sites may be sent to you in an e-mail or pop up on your computer screen when you are attempting to reach the real site. The site directs you to enter your personal information including account numbers. The information is then sent to an identity thief who uses the information to access your account before you know it.