Unfortunately we can all fall victim to unscrupulous people operating scams using the internet or the telephone. To keep yourself fully informed of what is happening locally and for advice on how to stay safe you can subscribe to Scottish Borders Alert.
What Is Phishing
Phishing is a type of attack that uses email or a messaging service to fool you into taking an action you should not take, such as clicking on a malicious link, sharing your password, or opening an infected email attachment. Attackers work hard to make these messages convincing and tap your emotional triggers, such as urgency or curiosity. They can make them look like they came from someone or something you know, such as a friend or a trusted company you frequently use. They could even add logos of your bank or forge the email address so the message appears more legitimate. Attackers then send these messages to millions of people. They do not know who will take the bait, all they know is the more they send, the more people will fall victim.
In almost all cases, opening and reading an email or message is fine. For a phishing attack to work, the bad guys need to trick you into doing something. Fortunately, there are clues that a message is an attack. Here are the most common ones:
A tremendous sense of urgency that demands “immediate action” before something bad happens, like threatening to close an account or send you to jail. The attacker wants to rush you into making a mistake.
Pressuring you to bypass or ignore your policies or procedures at work.
A strong sense of curiosity or something that is too good to be true. (No, you did not win the lottery.)
A generic salutation like “Dear Customer.” Most companies, colleagues or friends contacting you know your name.
Requesting highly sensitive information, such as your credit card number, password, or any other information that a legitimate sender should already know.
The message says it comes from an official organisation, but has poor grammar or spelling or uses a personal email address like @gmail.com.
The message comes from an official email but has a Reply-To address going to someone’s personal email account.
You receive a message from someone you know, but the tone or wording just does not sound like him or her. If you are suspicious, call the sender to verify they sent it. It is easy for a cyber attacker to create a message that appears to be from a friend or colleague.
Ultimately, common sense is your best defence. If an email or message seems odd, suspicious, or too good to be true, it may be a phishing attack.
If you have been a victim please contact Police on 101, Action Fraud or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 if you would prefer to remain anonymous