Phishing is the term given to the fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers. But there are some telephone versions of this happening in our area as well as people cold calling.
An example below shows just one type of phishing email purporting to be from the BBC TV Licensing and received by one of our readers, we have removed their email address in order to print it here.
Others can be purporting to be from HMRC, BT, Paypal, Amazon, Banks etc. The list is extensive.
Things to check before responding to an email you are not expecting:
1. Check who sent it – if it has come from a bona fide company it will be that company’s address i.e: A N [email protected], if it doesn’t – hover your mouse over the line ‘From’ it will show if there is an extension to the address as shown above right where it shows <[email protected]> so this is the real sender and in this case it is false so beware!
2. It would also address you by name and probably your account number, so check if these don’t appear-it is a phishing email and delete it or send it to the company it is purporting to be from. Most UK companies have an address you can send phishing emails to. You can find these by entering the real company’s name into google and it will give the address.
3. It will probably contain spelling mistakes and badly written with poor English grammar.
In the example the fine reads 1000.00 without a £ sign in front. A bone fide company wouldn’t write it like that.
4. It isn’t precise in details. For example: threatening a call but not giving a date. A real company wouldn’t use threatening language and would give precise details.
So please be aware of the above to protect yourself or others who may be easily caught out. Finally with emails, never, ever, click on the link. If you think it maybe from your bank, Paypal or any other company with whom you have an account, use your normal way to log into that account and check within the actual site.
Phishing telephone calls: there have been a lot of these in the town over the past few weeks. They start by saying they have had a missed call from your number to a mobile! Then try to get into conversation with you and may ask to to check your line. Hang up and if you are a BT customer, ring BT and have Call Protect, a free service, added to your phone, then any unwanted calls can be blocked permanently by BT. They will go to a junk mail messaging service. Another one doing the rounds purports to be from BT broadband and that they are going to cut off your broadband if you don’t press a number given by an automated voice. Don’t press the number as it may take you to a premium rate number. Again use Call Protect and block the number permanently. If your telephone provider isn’t BT, check with them if they offer a similar service, or most phones have a bar number function but it is limited in number.
Door cold callers: If you are not expecting anyone don’t answer your door, or if you have a safety chain use it. If the caller is genuine – they all carry ID – ask for it and check with the company before giving access. A recent one in our area was people pretending to be from the Council, again ask for ID and check it. However, it is unlikely that anyone from either Charnwood or Leicestershire County Council would call on you without making an appointment.
As the days draw shorter, please take care and if in doubt refuse entry and ask them to call back at another time. Do not give your name or telephone number, if they are from a bone fide company or council they will already have that information. Then ring 101 and report it, the Police will log it.