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Phoney emails and websites

16th July 2019

I am sure everyone has received an email advising them that their bank has introduced some new security method which requires them to enter passwords and other security details into a web page or face discontinuation of a service. The other favourite at the moment is the email from HMRC asking for details to be able to action a refund of tax paid.

This is called PHISHING and is usually carried out by criminals to persuade innocent victims to give away information that they may use to gain access to bank accounts, credit card accounts or other financial accounts.

If you click on the link you are taken to a web-site which looks remarkably like the web-site for your bank or HMRC, cheekily, it may even have a warning on it that you should take care to make sure any information you provide is secure. You are invited to enter your security details. By doing this you have provided the phisher with information to permit theft of your money.

No Bank , HMRC or other financial institution would ever ask you to enter these details on an email. If in any doubt carry out the following:

  • Never put passwords into an email (email is not secure), even if it claims that passwords are encrypted
  • If asked to click on a link, hover your mouse over then link and see if the link is the same as the hover information, it is so easy to spoof email addresses
  • If possible, type in the web address information you hold already for your bank, or HMRC
  • On a bank or HMRC website look for the closed padlock symbol which shows that the site is secure. Look for https in the web address and the closed padlock.
  • If it looks at all suspicious, don’t do anything with it
  • If in doubt call your bank or HMRC and ask if the email is genuine
  • If you have been fooled and do enter information into a phishing web-site contact your bank immediately and them what you have done. This may mean that your account is frozen while action is taken. You will have to change passwords of course.

The crooks are getting cleverer and sophisticated so beware. The websites look so genuine it is easy to be fooled.

Our motto is “if in doubt do nothing”, If the email in genuine they will contact you again.

Remember Banks, HMRC and other financial institutions never ask for passwords in emails.

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