How To Spot A Scam Email
We all know that scam emails exist and there have been horror stories in the press recently, but how do you spot a scam email from a legitimate one? Thankfully there are a few common sense rules that you can follow;
- If you receive an email that appears to be from HMRC then think again. The Revenue do not send out information by email, nor would they ever ask for personal information from you by email. So, no matter how official the email appears, it will not be from HMRC. There is a common scam that is based around telling you that you are entitled to a tax refund in an attempt to learn your bank details. The Revenue publish information on what emails they do send here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/genuine-hmrc-contact-and-recognising-phishing-emails/genuine-hmrc-contact-and-recognising-phishing-emails
- If you receive an email that you are not sure is genuine, do not click on any links contained in it. This can sometimes release a virus on your computer which can infect other emails or documents. Instead, if you think it may be genuine, open up a new window and search for the company that the email is said to be from.
- Take a look at the sender of the email. This usually gives the biggest clue that the email is not from the genuine company. For example, if your email is saying it is from a big company but the sender is called firstname.lastname@example.org then chances are it is a scam.
- There are known scam emails that circulate almost continually. For example, if you receive an email from a Nigerian prince, who is living in exile and wants to send you his millions as he cannot get access to his bank account, then I’m afraid you are being targeted by a scammer. You can read about other types of known scam on the Which website here: http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/how-do-i-know-if-an-email-ive-received-is-a-phishing-email
- Who is the email addressed to? If your name is incorrect, appears partially, or you are called ‘Dearest Customer’ then chances are the email is not genuine.
- Large companies take a lot of care over their marketing material, so if your email contains spelling mistakes, or grammatical errors then it is probably not from a genuine sender.
There is more information on what to do when you receive a scam email and other useful information on the National crime and Cyber security website here: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/scam-emails