TT188: Scams and ‘Phishing’

Scams and ‘Phishing’

A message posted yesterday on the Companies House website has warned that emails are currently circulating that claim to come from Companies House and may have attachments or links embedded in them. Companies House has confirmed that these emails are NOT from Companies House and should be ignored.

Such ‘phishing’ emails are a common internet phenomenon. You should be very careful regarding dealing with such emails.

What is a ‘phishing’ email?

Phishing is the fraudulent act of emailing a person in order to obtain their personal/financial information such as passwords, credit card or bank account details.

This guidance below may help you to recognise a phishing email.

Remember: To be completely safe from phishers, do not select links in emails. If in doubt, close your browser, reopen it, and type the web address for the site you want to visit directly into the address bar.

Hints and tips below may help you recognise a phishing/bogus email:

Incorrect ‘From’ address
Look out for a sender’s email address that is similar to, but not the same as, the organisation’s email addresses (such as ‘refunds@hmrc.org.uk’). These email addresses are used to mislead you.
However be aware, fraudsters can falsify the ‘from’ address to look like a legitimate address (for example ‘@hmrc.gov.uk’).

Personal information
Never provide confidential or personal information such as passwords, credit card or bank account details by email.

Urgent action required
Fraudsters want you to act immediately. Be wary of emails containing phrases like ‘you only have three days to reply’ or ‘urgent action required’.

Bogus websites
Fraudsters often include links to webpages that look like the homepage of an official website. This is to trick you into disclosing personal/confidential information. Just because the page may look genuine, does not mean it is.
You should be aware that fraudsters sometimes include genuine links to (say) HMRC web pages in their emails, this is to try and make their emails appear genuine.

Common greeting
Fraudsters often send high volumes of phishing emails in one go so even though they may have your email address, they seldom have your name. Be cautious of emails sent with a generic greeting such as ‘Dear Customer’.

Look out for
Spelling mistakes and poor grammar.

Attachments
Be cautious of attachments as these could contain viruses designed to steal your personal information.

If you are at all suspicious of an email you have received seek telephone advice from the organisation purporting to have sent it.

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