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Phishing is a scam that uses email to try and trick you into giving out confidential information.

Phishing emails will often use familiar logos and look like they’ve come from a genuine company or person, but are actually sent by criminals who want to access your online accounts and details.

Phishing emails can be tricky to spot; which is why it is important to stay alert and report any mail that looks suspicious.


Mismatched URL’s

The email may contain a link to a website that looks genuine but isn’t. You can usually tell if the link is going to direct you to a trustworthy website by hovering your mouse over the link. If the linked website address is different from the text displayed in the email, it is probably fraudulent and could link to a fake website.

(On an iPhone or iPad, tap and hold the link until a pop-up box appears with options. Tap the link URL at the top of the pop-up).

Poor spelling and grammar

This is one of the most common signs of a malicious email. Companies will usually have their marketing emails reviewed before they’re sent so if the email is full of spelling mistakes and poor grammar, it is most likely a scam.

Unbelievable offers

“Congratulations! You’ve won!” Emails containing exclusive offers that are too good to be true are usually scams. An email congratulating you on a prize draw or competition you’ve won but never entered usually contain links to “claim your prize”. These links will direct you to a fake website where you could be asked to give confidential information.

Sender’s email address

It’s worth checking that the sender’s email address matches who they say they are.

Confidential questions

You should be wary of any email that asks you to give out personal or confidential information no matter how realistic it looks. A legitimate email shouldn’t ask you for security details like pin numbers, passwords or account details.

Dear customer

Any email that doesn’t use your name and addresses you as ‘customer’ is a warning sign for a phishing scam. Scammers usually send thousands of phishing emails at a time so keep an eye out for generic greetings.

Requests to send money

As a general rule, any email with requests to send money should be considered a scam. Scammers might ask you for money to cover expenses or fees in return for a service.

Urgent! Important!

You could receive an email to say ‘your account will be closed’ and scammers will try and make you panic and react quickly to send confidential information. These emails are usually made to look like they’ve been sent from your bank.

The message appears to be from a government agency

These phishing emails claim to be from government departments such as HMRC or law enforcement agencies and are created to scare and pressure you into giving out confidential information.


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