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How to avoid phishing scams

Phishing emails attempt to gain personal information such as bank account details or personal login information to websites such as E-Bay or your email account.They are designed to look like a genuine email sent by your provider of these services and often look very convincing, replicating the design and logo from the genuine company website.

Characteristics

  1. Generic salutation
    Phishing emails often start with ‘Dear Customer’ instead of your name.
  2. Urgent or threatening
    Lots of phishing emails demand immediate action and threaten account closure if the demand is not met. Legitimate companies would not take this approach, and would normaly contact you in writing.
  3. Fake links
    Links to a website included in a phishing email may show a legitimate address but then take you somewhere different. You can see the actual address by hovering your mouse over the link but do not click.
  4. Attachments
    Malicious software is often disguised as an innocent attachment. Do not open unexpected attachments from suspicious or unknown senders.
  5. Bad spelling or grammar
    Email scammers are often sent from abroad and may contain poor English or unusual phrases.
  6. Take advantage of anti-spam software – Anti-spam software can help keep phishing attacks at a minimum. A lot of attacks come in the form of spam. By using anti-spam software you can reduce many types of phishing attacks because the messages will never end up in your mailbox.

What can you do?

  • If you are really in doubt the best thing would be to simply delete the email
  • Don’t open any attachments from people that you arn’t expecting an attachment from. Even someone you know could be infected and unknowingly be sending out viruses.
  • If an email seems suspicious, phone the company to verify or log onto your account from their website in your normal manner
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