What are they?
Email scams, known as ‘phishing’, are the most common way fraudsters trick you into providing personal or financial information.
These emails are designed to look legitimate and usually impersonate genuine businesses like financial institutions, phone companies, or even government agencies with urgent messages to entice you to open attachments, click on links, or provide information.
If attachments or links are opened it can often lead to malware infections.
So, for example, a fraudster may send an email saying there has been a security breach and ask you to download their security software. The virus could infect your computer and give someone else control of it. It could also track your keystrokes to get your usernames and passwords.
Signs of email scams
Be wary if you receive an email that:
- Contains a link that leads you to a website where you are asked to enter your account and password details.
- Says your details are required for security and maintenance upgrades or to 'verify' your account.
- States you are due to receive a refund for a fee that you were mistakenly charged.
- Doesn’t address you by your name.
- Has spelling errors or grammatical mistakes.
- Asks you to click on a link or open an attachment.
- Includes a sense of urgency, claiming that your immediate attention is needed.
- Has an email address that doesn’t look quite right.
How to protect yourself
- Don’t open suspicious links or attachments.
- Do a Google search using the names or exact wording of the email or message to check for any references to a scam – many scams can be identified this way.
- Never call the number included in the email. Call the company using a number from a trusted source, like on a bill, statement, phone book or search engine.