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Is it too good to be true?

Mobile with network symbols Published Thursday, 17 August 2017

Have you ever received an email telling you you've won a prize or asking you for personal details? These emails could be a scam or phishing email.

Phishing emails are designed to steal money. Cybercriminals can do this by installing malicious software on your computer or stealing personal information off of your computer.

Phishing emails and email scams come in all shapes and sizes and this type of activity is increasing. Phishing is the attempt of obtaining sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, bank and credit card details for malicious purposes, by posing as a company or brand you may recognise. There are tell tale signs that you can look for in emails to help you identify potential scams:

  • Do you know the sender? -  Are you expecting an email from the sender and does the senders email address look legitimate?  If not treat with caution.
  • Is there a sense of urgency in the email?  - For example 'please can you remit payment immediately'. These are used to instil panic in the hope the recipient will make a mistake by convincing you the clock is ticking.
  • Poor grammar, spelling and syntax - This is a big sign that something could be wrong. If the email just doesn’t look right trust your instincts.
  • Links within emails - Embedded links within emails should all be treated with caution. Does the link match the company’s domain name?  Does it include strange characters and unknown links? Always be cautious!
  • You’ve won the prize! - These types of scams are common but easy to identify. If you’ve not entered anything there is a high chance its fake. Another tactic is to ask you to complete a survey in return for a prize and the survey will often ask for personal information.
  • Unexpected emails that use known information about you - These can be very convincing. Information such as job title, role, personal interest or previous employment status. Such information can be easily obtained from the internet and can used effectively and convincingly in phishing emails.
  • Account verification - These emails are made to look like legitimate emails often from banks or building societies. These are known as spoof emails. They often ask for you to verify your account details. Always question these types of emails especially of they are from an organisation you don’t deal with. A targeted attack could also make the email look like it is coming from the organisation you work for.
  • Incomplete information - Phishing emails are usually sent in mass from ill-gained mass mailing lists. The emails can contain personal information which may be part complete. This is due to the way the mass emails are created. If the information look suspicious treat with caution.

Example

The following is an example of an email phishing scam and Wyre Council would not send emails like this.

Example of phishing email

Take action

If you ever receive an email pertaining to be from Wyre Council which you consider suspicious our advice is not to respond to it without checking with us first by emailing: mailroom@wyre.gov.uk

Further information

For further information and advice on email and internet security please visit Get Safe Online or Action Fraud


 

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