There is increasing evidence of criminals exploiting the coronavirus for their own gain. Techniques being used include sending bogus emails with links claiming to have important updates and, in some cases, fake tax refunds.
These ‘phishing’ attempts can lead to loss of money and personal data. Though its sometimes difficult to tell, until you’re certain that the sender is genuine, you should not follow any links, open attachments or reply to emails you aren’t expecting. If you have suspicions something isn’t right simply delete the email.
Here are some tips on spotting phishing emails:
- Many phishing emails have poor grammar, punctuation and spelling
- The design and overall quality may not be what would you’d expect from the organisation the email is supposed to come from
- Is it addressed to you by name, or does it refer to ‘valued customer’, or ‘friend’, or ‘colleague’? This can be a sign that the sender doesn’t actually know you, and that it’s a phishing scam
- Does the email contain a veiled threat that asks you to act urgently? Be suspicious of words like ‘send these details within 24 hours’ or ‘you have been a victim of crime, click here immediately’
- Look at the sender’s name. Does it sound legitimate, or is it trying to mimic someone you know?
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. It’s most unlikely that someone will want to give you money, or give you access to a secret part of the internet
- Your bank, or any other official source, should never ask you to supply any personal information via email