Phishing is the attempt to acquire sensitive information, for example usernames, passwords and credit card details or steal money by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication such as email, pop-up message, phone call or text message. 

More than 68 percent of people who reported a phishing scam said that they received it in the form of an email, this compares to 12.5 percent of people who said they were contacted by phone, 8.9 percent of people who said that they received a text message and the rest saying they were contacted in another way.

Deputy Head of Action Fraud, Steve Proffitt said: “In order to avoid becoming a victim we urge people to be cautious when opening emails and ask them to follow our protection advice in order to make it as difficult as possible for fraudsters who are simply casting around for their next victim”.

Behaviours that put you at risk:

  • Opening attachments, or clinking on links within emails that are unsolicited or unexpected.
  • Responding to emails that ask for your personal or financial details.
  • Logging in to a webpage that you have arrived at via a link in an email.

How to protect yourself:

  • Don’t open attachments or click on the links within any unsolicited emails you receive, and never respond to emails that ask for your personal or financial details. Remember, you can hover over a link to see where it will really take you.
  • An email address can be spoofed, so even if the email appears to be from a person or a company you know of, but the message is unexpected or unusual then contact the sender directly via another method to confirm that they sent you the email.
  • If you receive an email which asks you to login to an online account, for example due to suspicious activity on your account, instead of clicking on the link provided in the email, go directly to the website yourself.

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