What is a phishing scam?

Phishing scams are a favoured way for cyber criminals to get access to sensitive information, such as your usernames and passwords, credit card details, and bank account numbers. Usually in the form of an email, this kind of scam may look as if it has come from a trustworthy source, but will attempt to trick you into:

Clicking on a link or an attachment that will infect your computer with malicious software.

Following a link to a fake (but convincing looking) website that will steal your password or other sensitive information.

Spotting Scams.

Knowing how to spot a phishing email, is a great start to arming you and your staff with defences against cyber crime. Here are some things to look out for.

  • Legitimate organisations don’t always get it 100% right, but be suspicious of emails with basic errors in spelling and grammar.
  • Check if the actual linked URL is different from the one displayed – hover your mouse over any links in an email (DON’T CLICK) to see if the actual URL is different. If it is, then the phishing scam is trying to send you somewhere else
  • The email asks for personal information that they should already have, or information that isn’t relevant to your business with them.
  • If the email calls for urgent action: For example, “Your bank account will be closed if you don’t respond right away”. If you’re not sure, it’s always best to check. Go directly to the bank’s website via the URL you would normally use, or phone them. Don’t click on the link in the email.
  • If you receive an email saying that you’ve won a competition you didn’t enter, have a parcel waiting that you didn’t order, or promises huge rewards for your help, then it’s likely to be a scam. On the internet, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
  • Check if there are changes to how information is usually presented. For example an email is addressed to “Dear Sirs” or “Hello” instead of to you by name, the sending email address looks different or complex, or the content is not what you’d usually expect.

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