Have you ever had an email from a bank you don’t have an account with telling you to update your security details? That’s a ‘phishing’ email – sent by fraudsters to trick you into revealing passwords and other sensitive information that could be used to steal your money and even your identity.
Banks and others have been warning customers about phishing scams for years. Yet they’re still out there. They usually warn of terrible consequences if you don’t take action: your account will be closed; you’ll miss out on a refund. They may even warn that you’ve been billed for child pornography. A friend this week asked me to say if a suspicious email was from the company I worked for. It wasn’t – we’d never ask for your bank details, mother’s maiden name and a host of other sensitive information.
Whatever you do, don’t fall for it. If you get an email asking you to confirm security details, be suspicious. If in any doubt, don’t open it, and don’t click on links in such emails. Instead, if it claims to be from your bank, ignore the email, go to the bank’s website and log in as normal. If the bank does need you to do anything, there will be a message waiting for you. Chances are there won’t be.
I’m lucky enough to be involved with a wonderful organisation called Get Safe Online, backed by the British government. Get Safe Online has a stack of useful information on its website aimed at keeping you safe from the phishermen and other scams. Here’s Get Safe Online’s advice about spam and scam emails.
PS: Get Safe Online Week this year (22-26 October) has the theme Click & Tell: passing on online safety tips to family and friends. Please tell your loved ones not to fall for scam emails!