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Phishing scams: How to spot them and what to do

By Rebecca Timmins

Posted 9th May 2023

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

We recently received an update on phishing as a scam technique and wanted to share the tips our consultant shared, in case they are useful for you.

What is phishing?

Phishing is a technique used to trick people into clicking on a link or providing personal information. This can lead to a virus being placed on a machine or data being stolen. 

While it used to be possible to spot phishing emails by looking for poorly spelled words or unusual domains, attackers are using more convincing techniques, including Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools like ChatGPT. 

Avoiding phishing

There are steps you can take to protect yourself from phishing:

  1. Be cautious of unsolicited emails and text messages from unknown senders.
  2. Do not click on links or download attachments from emails or messages that seem suspicious or unexpected.
  3. Check the sender’s email address or phone number for any unusual characters or misspellings.
  4. Be wary of urgent or threatening language in emails or messages that try to pressure you into taking immediate action.
  5. Always double-check the URL of any website you visit to ensure it is legitimate before entering personal or sensitive information. 
  6. Use anti-virus and anti-malware software on your devices to help prevent phishing attacks and other cyber threats.
  7. Consider using a password manager and two-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security to your online accounts.
  8. Regularly update your password
  9. If you receive a suspicious email or message, report it to the National Cybersecurity Centre at report@phishing.gov.uk.

It is also important to be aware of phishing attempts via text message and WhatsApp as these are becoming increasingly common. 

Further information on how to recognise and report emails, texts, websites, adverts or phone calls that you think are a scam, can be found here.

Useful resources

We’ve written a couple of articles before on this topic that you may find helpful.

Improve your cyber security – 7 simple steps you can take

The lowdown on phishing – What to look out for and the steps to take