Criminals try to lure you into entering your details at a fake but genuine looking website. Criminals then use your details to access your accounts and steal your identity or money. Criminals can also use hyperlinks or attached files within phishing emails as a way to infect your computer or device with malicious software (malware).
Here's how to spot a phishing scam:
- When you receive an unsolicited email you should check it for signs that it may not be from the person/company it appears to be from.
- Check the email address - Is it the same as the email address you usually receive emails from, or just similar.
- Check the email subject line - anything along the lines of "There is a secure message waiting for you", "Security Alert", "System Upgrade" and so on should be treated as suspect.
- Check the message title - if it reads 'Dear Customer' or 'Dear Valued Customer' or if isn't personalised at all, then you should be suspicious. Phishing emails will not usually include your name.
- Be wary if the email asks you to click on a hyperlink or a button to download a file. Wording such as 'verify your account or password' or 'update your security details' should be viewed as suspicious – they are likely to take you to a copycat website where you may be prompted to enter personal details which can be used to commit fraud.
- Be suspicious of any message that creates a sense of urgency, such as 'If you don't respond within 48 hours, your account will be suspended'. A legitimate company will not create a false sense of urgency.
- Check the grammar and spelling for mistakes or inconsistencies.
- Top Tip! You can hover your mouse pointer over hyperlinks (or buttons) to see the underlying website URL.
- One account or anyone else will never ask you for your full Global Key Code, Password and Passcode.
- Never respond to any unexpected or suspicious emails.
- Don't click on any links or attachments within unexpected or suspicious emails.
How do I report a suspicious email?
If you have received a fraudulent or suspicious email which you have not responded to, please forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have responded to the email, please call the Online Fraud Team on 0345 301 0101 (Text relay 18001 0345 301 0101). Calls may be recorded.
Remember, if an offer seems too good to be true, it usually is - don't respond to any unsolicited communication.