What is email fraud or ‘phishing’?
Phishing is a type of social engineering attack used by cybercriminals to steal your personal information, including login codes and credit card numbers. Phishing can be conducted via a text message, social media, or by phone, but the term 'phishing' is mainly used to describe attacks that arrive by email.
It happens when an attacker pretends to be from a trusted company who wants to trick you into opening a message on your device and then clicking on a link to a fraudulent website to steal your information and cash.
What to look out for
- Check the grammar and spelling. This can be a big giveaway of a scam email.
- Emails which require you to respond quickly or offer enticing discounts.
- Emails and texts that link you to web pages that ask for too much information, such as your full card or online banking codes.
- Web pages with misspelt or strange addresses.
How will I know if I’ve been phished?
If you’ve been phished, there are some signs that can help you spot if you’ve been tricked:
- Identity theft.
- Unprompted password reset requests.
- You cannot make calls or send texts using your mobile phone - a sign of SIM swap fraud.
- You suddenly receive an influx of spam email (or spam emails sent from your account).
- Cannot login to online banking or websites.
Actions you can take now
- Check if the email is personalised. Does it have information like your name, your postcode or part of your account number? If there’s no personalisation, treat it with suspicion.
- Instead of clicking on a link - go directly to the website to login or call the company to determine if the email or text is genuine.
- If someone does fall victim to a phishing scam, encourage them to speak out. The quicker it’s identified, the sooner you can act.
- For the latest cyber security advice and resources, visit the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).
- Forward any suspicious emails referring to Ulster Bank to firstname.lastname@example.org. Most large companies will have their own mailbox for reporting phishing emails.
Always think twice and make double checking second nature
Take Five to stop fraud
Take Five is a national campaign that offers straight-forward and impartial advice to help everyone protect themselves from preventable financial fraud. This includes email deception and phone-based scams as well as online fraud – particularly where criminals impersonate trusted organisations.