Stay Safe Online

10 January 2017

Stay Safe Online

The Metropolitan Police recently published a number of alerts to members of the public, local police forces and businesses in order to increase awareness of a number of ‘Phishing’ campaigns currently taking place across the UK.

What is Phishing?

Phishing is the attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and, indirectly, money), often for malicious reasons, by disguising as a trustworthy organisation in an electronic communication.

Taking advantage of the huge rise in computer use, fraudsters are sending out huge numbers of phishing emails to personal and business email addresses, pretending to come from ‘donotreply’ followed by the victims’ own email extension or the supposed details of trusted banks and building societies.

Protection/Prevention Advice

Having up-to-date virus protection is essential; however it will not always protect you and your financial information.

Please consider the following actions:

  • Don’t click on links or open any attachments you receive in unsolicited emails or SMS messages. Remember that fraudsters can ‘spoof’ an email address to make it look like one used by someone you trust. If you are unsure, check the email header to identify the true source of communication. Information on how to locate email headers can be found at https://mxtoolbox.com/Public/Content/EmailHeaders
  • Always install software updates as soon as they become available. Whether you are updating the operating system or an application, the update will often include fixes for critical security vulnerabilities.
  • Most anti-virus software contains an ‘anti-spyware’ scan which may be able to detect key loggers. If your current software does not offer this function, consider installing software which does – both free and paid for anti-spyware is widely available.
  • Create regular backups of your important files to an external hard drive, memory stick or online storage provider. It’s important that the device you back up to is not left connected to your computer as any malware infection could spread to that device as well.
  • If you think your bank or building society details have been compromised, you should immediately contact them.

If you have been affected by this, or any other fraud, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.

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