Since the outbreak of Covid-19, cases of online scamming have risen dramatically, costing people money and personal information, resulting in millions of pounds being claimed by criminals through a variety of online scams.
This means that users must be more vigilant than ever when accessing online information, especially emails, passwords and personal information.
The increase in online fraud since the pandemic has meant a rise in attempts by criminals to hack and steal online information through different forms of attacks, with the majority of these attempts being phishing attempts.
What is a Phishing Email?
Phishing is a type of scam where criminals send an email which appears to be from a legitimate company and ask you to provide sensitive information, usually in the form of a link which results in your information going directly to the criminals.
In the modern age of technology, cyber security is extremely important and protection against those looking to take advantage of online data is of the highest importance to ensure members are kept safe.
Safety – What to look out for
Unsure if an email is from who it is intended? Here are some key tips to spot a phishing email:
1. Check Branding
Phishing emails tend to mimic companies and often pretend to be someone they are not. If the branding on the email you have received looks suspicious or different to what you typically receive, it may be an example of a phishing scam.
2. Ignore Links & Attachments
If you are suspicious about the email you have received, avoid clicking any links or opening/downloading any attachments that have come with it. These can link directly to scammers or download suspicious files to your computer.
3. Are you being asked for personal information?
If the email you have received is asking for personal information, there is an extremely strong chance that this is an email scam and no information should be passed over.
4. Poor spelling, grammar & presentation
A tell tale sign of a scammer was typically poor spelling and grammar, as well as presentation that looked more than suspicious, but with age this has begun to improve and emails are becoming less conspicuous. However they still creep through, so keep a lookout for poorly constructed and formatted emails.
What Not To Do
No matter what, DO NOT CLICK links that you are unsure about. These links can be very dangerous and leave you vulnerable to potential hacks and cyber attacks.
Is My Password Strong Enough?
If you have a weak password, for any of your online logins, it makes it much easier for criminals to access your information. Likewise, if you have the same password for everything, although easier to remember, you are putting yourself at an extremely high risk of being exposed.
You should always update your password too, at least once a month to ensure any security risks are lowered. Here are some tips for ensuring your password is strong enough:
- Sequential numbers & letters
- Avoid passwords containing personal information such as birthdays, names, dates etc.
- Avoid common substitutions eg; Doorbell < D00rB3ll
- Don’t use “password”
- Make your password long (Ideally no shorter than 15 characters)
- Use a mix of characters – this includes capital letters, symbols and numbers
- The more unique the better
- Update passwords regularly
During these uncertain times, we want to ensure our members stay safe in all aspects of life, both offline and online, so please be vigilant of your personal safety.