Phishing is a scam where criminals typically send emails to thousands of people. These emails pretend to come from banks, credit card companies, online shops and auction sites as well as other trusted organisations. They usually try to trick you into going to the site, for example to update your password to avoid your account being suspended. The embedded link in the email itself goes to a website that looks exactly like the real thing but is actually a fake designed to trick victims into entering personal information.
How to spot a Phishing email
The email itself can also look as if it comes from a genuine source. Fake emails sometimes display some of the following characteristics, but as fraudsters become smarter and use new technology, the emails may have none of these characteristics. They may even contain your name and address.
- The sender’s email address may be different from the trusted organisation’s website address.
- The email may be sent from a completely different address or a free webmail address.
- The email may not use your proper name, but a non-specific greeting such as “Dear customer.”
- A sense of urgency; for example the threat that unless you act immediately your account may be closed.
- A prominent website link. These can be forged or seem very similar to the proper address, but even a single character’s difference means a different website.
- A request for personal information such as username, password or bank details.
- You weren't expecting to get an email from the organisation that appears to have sent it.
- The entire text of the email may be contained within an image rather than the usual text format. The image contains an embedded link to a bogus site
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