Fraudulent ‘Phishing’ Emails
An e-Cops subscriber has informed me of an email that she received recently purporting to have been sent to her from a well-known national charity. The email appeared to be genuine, however the lady noticed that the name of the charity was spelled incorrectly. This made her suspicious and she realised that it was probably a scam, also known as a ‘phishing’ email.
In this instance, the charity being spoofed was ‘The British Heart Foundation’ and it was the word ‘Heart’ that was mis-spelled, but phishing emails can appear to come from any organisation or company – their objective is to get you to click on a link that will either take you to a false web-site, or will down-load a virus that will infect your computer. Never click on any links in emails that appear suspicious to you or are unexpected!
Spelling mistakes and bad grammar are often indications that an email or a web-site is a fake, as they are often created in foreign countries by individuals for whom English is not their first language.
If you are in any doubt about a suspicious email, do not open it or click on any link it may contain. Action Fraud are the UK centre for cyber-crime and fraud reporting and you can report such incidents to them. Their web-site also has a lot of guidance on how to protect yourself on-line: visit www.actionfraud.police.uk or you can phone them on 0300-123-2040.
There is also useful information on the Cambridgeshire Constabulary web-site at: http://www.cambs.police.uk/crimeprevention/advice/advice.asp?ID=150