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Phishing is when criminals use fake e-mails or web links to obtain sensitive information about people. Information such as passwords, usernames, or bank account details.

How the Fraudsters Operate

A compelling reason is usually given to persuade you to go to their website or click on a link contained in an e-mail. Often the e-mail is sent under the guise that it originated from familiar names in the high street like your bank or credit card company, but others include on-line service providers, auction sites, etc. The websites often appear genuine but are, in fact designed to trick people into entering personal details.

On entering your personal details, the criminal can gain access to your identity, take money from your bank account or infect your computer with a virus which allows them to control your system.

Warning Signs:

  • E-mail uses generic terms like ‘Dear account holder’.
  • E-mail is threatening and states that urgent action is required.
  • E-mail contains an unrecognisable link.
  • Spelling errors in the e-mail.
  • E-mail address is different from trusted company’s 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.

Take Action:

  • Keep your browser software up-to-date.
  • Avoid risky sites, including supposed investment sites.
  • Never click on a link in an e-mail from an unknown source.
  • Use spam filters where possible.
  • Never give out your personal details, passwords or security codes via e-mail.
  • Don’t leave personal documents lying around for anyone else to access.
  • Don’t throw out any correspondence containing personal details without shredding first.


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