So, what is phishing?
“Phishing is a type of fraud in which a hacker attempts to gather personal, corporate or financial information by impersonating a legitimate source or by sending users to a malicious web site to try and capture login details like passwords.”
What does a fake email look like?
There are a number of ways to determine whether an email is genuine:
- Email address – if you expand the pane at the top of your email then you’ll be able to see exactly who it is from. A fake email address will normally contain random numbers, a mix of lower and uppercase letters or misspelled words.
- Updating user account – If you’re receiving an email saying you need to update your user account then firstly ask yourself if you have an account with that brand. Secondly is this the email you have set up for that account, or do you use another email address?
- Click to enter bank details – No legitimate company would email you asking for personal information, whether that’s passwords, pin codes or bank account info.
- You’re a winner – did you even the competition that you’re a supposed winner of? If you are unsure about any email then it is always best to contact that company direct and ask if it’s genuine.
How can I protect myself against scams?
The best advice is to think very carefully before you click on any links.
- If you receive an email saying there is a problem with your online account then go to that website directly and log in to check.
- If the email is creating urgency by saying if you don’t update your password now, then your account will close, then again go to that website directly or call their customer services to check.
- Don’t click on any attachments from any unknown sources or reply to the email.
- Make sure you have any spam filters turned on through your email provider, most will automatically put emails from unknown sources into junk/spam folders.
- Add the email addresses of any suspicious emails to your block sender lists, you won’t then get an email from that address again.
- Make sure you also have virus protection software up-to-date and create strong passwords that are different from each other for various sites; also update regularly.
For more useful information about phishing scams, please visit the Get Safe Online website.
If you think you may have been the victim of a phishing scam, please report it to Action Fraud