Phishing is when a scammer attempts to trick someone into handing out personal information such as passwords and bank details.
How do they do this?
- The target is contacted by the scammer who is impersonating a trusted individual such as a bank official or internet service provider. This contact may be in the form of text, email or phone call.
- From here the scammer may do a few things:
– The target may be asked to confirm personal details – ‘for verification’. The reason given may be something along the lines of for a customer survey or due to a technical error.
– The scammer may tell the target about an unauthorised or suspicious action on their account. This could be in a foreign country or a particularly large purchase. The target will then be asked to confirm their details.
- These messages and calls are designed to look authentic. Even the most clued up individuals can be caught out. Always be aware of who the email has come from, read our handy tips for identifying dodgy emails here.
What should I look out for?
- You have received an email, phone call or text message requesting that you update your personal details. This may be from a bank, internet provider, mobile phone provider etc.
- The email or message is full of spelling and grammatical errors. It may also be addressed to your email address or an incorrect version of your name.
- There are unfamiliar icons on your desktop.
- Your computer is slower than usual.
- The website address that you are being directed to looks different to normal.
How can I protect myself?
- If you are sent attachments or links claiming to be from your bank or another trusted business, don’t open them! Delete them straight away.
- Make sure you are on a secure website. This can be identified by a URL starting with ‘https’ alongside a closed padlock.
- Do not provide personal details over the phone before verifying the call is genuine. You can do this by making a note of their name and number and independently calling the organisation they claim to be from.
- It is worth searching online if you think something may be a scam. It is unlikely that you will be the only target. Use the exact wording of the message and any names that may be mentioned.
I have been scammed. What should I do?
If you believe that a scammer has accessed your personal information or bank accounts, you need to report this immediately.
The best place to do this is with your bank. You can find the correct details for all UK banks here.
You may also want to report the theft to your local police department. Keep a note of the crime reference number in case your bank needs it.
Make sure you inform all of your friends and family what has happened. The scammer may be able to use your details to get to them.