Magazine Articles - 6 - Focus Magazines for Over Wyre and Garstang

...different ways hackers or fraudsters will try to con you using emails...

Computer Safety no. 6: 01-June-2013

Last month we covered scam phone calls (again) and I promised further details on dodgy emails.

phishing emailsThere are a number of different ways hackers or fraudsters will try to con you using emails. Some are known as ‘phishing’ emails which criminals typically send to thousands of people – these pretend to come from banks, credit card companies, online shops and auction sites as well as other trusted organisations. They usually try to trick you into going to the site, for example to update your password to avoid your account being suspended. The embedded link in the email itself goes to a website that looks like the real thing but is actually a fake designed to trick victims into entering personal information.

fraudstersSometimes the email will be the result of a company having been hacked – for example, the bad guys might write to you and refer to a recent order which you really have made, saying that you just need to reconfirm your payment details. There will then be a link taking you to a fraudument page asking for credit card and other valuable personal information.

Fake emails often (but not always):

  • have a different email address from the trusted organisation’s normal website address
  • use a non-specific greeting such as “Dear customer” instead of your proper name
  • threaten that unless you act immediately your account may be closed
  • give a website link which seems very similar to the proper address - but even a single character difference means a different website
  • request personal information such as username, password, date of birth or bank details.

Other email tricks involve trying to sell you things, hoax charity appeals, chain messages or simple messages like ‘here are those pictures’.

.... don’t click on links in emails from unknown sources.

Don’t: open or forward emails which you suspect are spam; open attachments from unknown sources; respond to emails from unknown sources ; make purchases or charity donations in response to spam email; click on ‘remove’ or reply to unwanted email; and don’t click on links in emails from unknown sources. Instead move your mouse pointer over the link to reveal its true destination, usually displayed in a popup bubble or in the bottom left corner of your screen, and if this is different from what is displayed in the text of the link then there may be a problem.

Think – before you click on any links in an email or before you open any attachments. Even if you know the sender, make sure it is something you are expecting as they could have been hit by a virus or other problem which then sends out these dodgy messages. If in doubt, contact them to check it is a valid email or ask someone else for a second opinion. Please don’t be frightened to ask - it’s always far, far better to be safe than sorry.

Next month - passwords.

Don’t forget to check out some of the advice available on the Get Safe Online website at, and if you have any questions or concerns about security, then please do give me a ring for a quick chat.

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Publication Details

  • Date: June/July 2013
  • Publication: Over Wyre Focus & Garstang Focus
  • Page: Over Wyre - 27 / Garstang - 36
  • Link: