How to spot a phishing email

Everyday, we are receiving hundreds of emails from friends, work colleagues, businesses and advertisers. On top of this, we also receive many spam emails, emails containing viruses and phishing emails.

Phishing emails are those emails that contain either basic or more sophisticated attempts to steal your personal or financial information.

A scammer creates an email that claims to be from a bank, online payment service or another service, such as, HMRC. The more sophisticated of these emails use a look-a-like email to attempt to extract information from an unsuspecting user who feels they have to respond to the email and provide the information requested.

Scammers create forged emails (some are better forgeries than others) to make them look like the company or organisation they claim to be from. These emails claim to warn you of possible fraud or they ask you to complete a security check to prevent fraudulent activity. In order to allow the scammer to capture your personal or financial information, they will often redirect you to a fake website.

To reduce the risk of you being caught out by one of the wide range of email scams we advise you to check suspicious emails for:

  • poor spelling or grammar
  • unsolicited messages from people or companies you have never dealt with
  • any email that asks you for money
  • emails that threaten consequences if you do not give personal information or a payment immediately
  • emails that originated outside the UK
  • the “to” and “from” lines are the same

Also, it is worth noting that banks, PayPal and HMRC do not send emails asking you to provide personal or financial information.

If you are in any doubt about any email don’t respond to it until you have checked with the person, company or organisation it claims to be from.

For further information about phishing email scams and ways to protect yourself against them visit actionfraud.police.uk/fraud-az-phishing.

Posted in How To

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