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Cyber Fraud – be vigilant to stay safe

As part of our Fraud Awareness campaign, we are sharing some information about cyber fraud and security as well as some things to look out for so that you can be vigilant and protect yourselves, your friends and your family from becoming victims of fraud.

With so many of our essential services done online, whether that be online shopping, paying bills, accessing banking, or if you are working from home, being aware of fraud and what you can do to prevent cyber fraud, is more important than ever before.

Cyber-crime is just one type of fraud and involves a computer being used to deceive someone to gain a dishonest advantage.

The most common types of Cyber Fraud which you may expect to see are:

Phishing

Where a criminal sends an email message, usually to lots of addresses, aiming to trick the recipient into providing private information such as usernames and passwords for online services, such as online banking. 

Spear-phishing

Where criminals send an email message to an individual, using information about that individual to trick them into clicking on a link or revealing personal information.

Whaling

A form of phishing in which a specific type of person, perhaps due to their role at work, is targeted. The email message may appear to come from someone who it is not, in order to access specific information which, they otherwise would not have access to.

Ransomware

Where rogue software prevents access to computer files and folders and a ransom is demanded to unlock the files, it can be sent to the computer via an email link or attachment, a webpage, or by removable media, such as a USB stick or pen drive.

Malicious Text Message

Where criminals send a text message which looks like it has come from a trusted organisation, such as the NHS, but contains a link to a malicious website which aims to capture private information.

 

There are some key things you can look out for, that act as warning signs of scams or phishing attempts.

Be wary of:

  • Requests for personal information, such as postal address, account password, bank details
  • Generic greetings such as ‘Dear member’ or ‘Dear user’
  • An email which wants you to download an attachment that you weren’t expecting or links which look legitimate, but which point to suspicious websites

Top Tip: You can often see where a link really points to by moving your mouse pointer over the link (without clicking) then seeing the real link in the status bar at the bottom of the page

  • Urgent wording, mentions of deadlines for certain actions, such as “Your account will be locked if you do not reply immediately!!”
  • Emails with poor spelling and grammar

 

To protect yourself from cyber security do not reply to any spam or suspicious-looking emails and do not open links in text or email messages which you are not expecting.

If you are working from home, your employer may have more guidance on what to do if you suspect cyber fraud so always check and see if they have any training available.

For more information on how to protect yourself from Cyber Fraud at work and at home, visit the National Cyber Security Centre.