The use of authentic-looking fake emails, texts and phone calls often claiming to be from trustworthy organisations such as banks or tax authorities is on the rise. We’ve put together some guidance on how you can detect and protect yourself against scammers.
What is phishing?
Phishing is generally when a scammer sends a fraudulent email that appears to be from a reputable company. The scammer's goal is to deceive recipients into either clicking on a malicious link or downloading an infected attachment, usually to steal financial or confidential information.
The term 'phishing' is mainly used to describe attacks that arrive by email however phishing can be conducted via:
- Text message
- Social media
How to detect a phishing scam
- Phishing is often impersonal, addressing the recipient as a “user” or “customer.” Legitimate companies will address you by name when asking for an update to financial information, or dealing with a similarly sensitive matter.
- Scammers typically use urgent language designed to encourage the recipient to act without thinking. They are also often riddled with both grammar and punctuation mistakes.
- They often employ scare tactics in the hope that recipients will click malicious links out of alarm or confusion.
- Malicious websites will almost always include some type of information collection form that deviates slightly from the legitimate company’s landing page.
Phishing communications often target specific events/time periods i.e. Christmas shopping, world disasters, tax year end. They may also tempt you into providing your details in exchange for offers or entry into a prize draw. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is so make sure you do your research before proceeding.
How to protect yourself from scammers
- Be suspicious of any attempt to obtain a password (or any piece of personal data).
- Treat all communications with suspicion, what you see can be forged, such as the sender's address/phone number, even the email header and URL can be manipulated to disguise its source.
- Be cautious of any links or attachments, just clicking on it could download malicious software. If you don't trust the sender, don't open the attachment.
- Keep an eye out for grammatical errors and spelling mistakes; many scams are riddled with them, but your brain is smart and will correct the sentences without you realising.
If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud, scamming or extortion, you should report this through the Action Fraud website. Action Fraud is the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre.
If you ever have any suspicion about a communication received from Close Brother Savings, please call our Customer Services Team on 020 3857 3050 to verify its legitimacy. Our phonelines are open 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday, excluding UK bank holidays.
For more information on staying safe online please visit: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/