What Should I Do If I Receive a Phishing Email?

There are so many cybersecurity threats to be aware of these days, with phishing emails often hitting the headlines. This particular scam email threat has grown over recent years, and some would say that we are now in the middle of a fake email epidemic.

In this type of attack, you receive an email that may appear to have come from a trusted source, or it may simply be a 'cold call' message intended to gain your interest. The aim is to get the unwary recipient to click a link or give away personal information or data, which can then be used to access a system, or for other fraudulent purposes.

Don't panic

Thankfully, due to the large volume of these types of emails that get sent out, most people are now aware of the risk and are savvy enough to spot obvious fakes. However, some are so well designed that it can be hard to recognise, at first glance, that you are being scammed.

Don't panic if you receive a suspicious email as there is no immediate danger unless you click on a link or attachment. Most email programmes have a preview window, which adds an extra layer of security because viewing emails in this way doesn't allow code to run, even if it is embedded.

Check with the sender

If a suspicious email appears but you are not sure whether or not it’s genuine, you can check with the sender. Don't do this by replying to the email in question. Either create a new email from a previously stored address, or call (or send a text to) the phone number and ask if they are the actual sender.

Report it

Everyone can do their bit in the fight against fraudsters by reporting scam emails. In the UK, Action Fraud forwards reported threats to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) run by the City of London Police. In other countries, various organisations will want to know about phishing attacks.

If you discover the danger too late in the process and it’s possible that the safety of personal financial details may have been compromised, or if you have lost money from your accounts, you must immediately contact your bank, credit firm, or lender and report the details.

Move on

Fortunately, most emails of this type are easy to spot, so the best course of action is to simply delete them and move on. Even if you have reported it and sent the email to the relevant agency, you do not need to keep it.

Because it's unlikely that you will be at risk of malware if you didn't click on any links, there isn’t even a real need to run a virus scan, although regularly checking for infections on your devices is good policy. Also, remember that millions of these emails are sent randomly every day, so don’t worry about being singled out as a potential target.

If you'd like to know more about staying safe online, talk to us today.