Phishing and Internet Shopping

What is Phishing?

Phishing is when criminals use fake e-mails or web links to acquire sensitive personal information, such as passwords, usernames, or bank account details. This is used to commit fraudulent or even criminal acts in your name, leaving you responsible for the consequences. Such emails and linked websites often appear genuine but are designed to trick people into entering personal details to access your identity, steal from your bank account or infect your computer with a virus which allows them to control your system.

What kind of things might indicate Phishing?

  • E-mail uses generic terms like ‘Dear account holder’.
  • Email is threatening and states that urgent action is required.
  • Email contains an unrecognisable link.
  • Email from a company you normally have dealings with but suggesting your payment method or credit card details have failed to register.
  • Spelling errors contained within the email.
  • Email address is different from trusted company website.
  • Unexpected e-mails from a company you have no business with.
  • No padlock sign on website and no https:// at the beginning of web address.

What should I look for when buying goods or paying for services online?

  • Use common sense - if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Use secure websites - look for https:// in the address line and the padlock image.
  • Does the company have a real address and phone number? What are their returns and data privacy policies? Call them if you are in any doubt.
  • Use a secure payment option such as PayPal or a dedicated or pre-pay credit card for all on-line purchases.
  • Be aware that sponsored links at the top or side of search pages pay to be there.. These are not always reliable and can be used by criminals.
  • Ensure the web address shown on the search matches what appears on the bottom bar when you hover over the link - if it doesn’t you could be taken to a phishing site.