A made up word that describes a particular kind of online criminal activity. Most commonly comes in the form of an email (or sometimes an instant message) allegedly from a bank, Paypal, Inland Revenue etc.
The correspondence will try and frighten you. It will tell you your security details have been compromised etc OR try and entice you telling you are entitled for a tax refund / have been awarded... etc.
In either case the scammers will want you to confirm with them your log in, password details etc.
DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES GIVE OUT THESE DETAILS!
No legitimate bank or company will ask you for these!
More often than not such emails are being sent blindly to thousands of email addresses hoping that just a few people will fall for the trick and send back their log in / security details.
Some of these scam emails are getting increasingly sophisticated. They may use the correct company logo’s etc but be suspicious of any such email.
Here’s what to do:
1. Don’t respond directly to the email.
2. Don’t click on any links in the email.
3. If you think this may possibly be genuine correspondence from the company involved contact them to confirm they have been in touch.
4. Don’t call any phone number used in the email but get a number from directory enquires etc if you need to.
If you are worried about this and would like to familiarise yourself now with what such scam emails might look like visit Bank Safe Online who have a number of examples.
Bank Safe Online
If you want even more about phishing and some of the latest scams doing the rounds visit -
Microsoft Security Centre
Other Scam Emails
Scam emails have been floating around for over a decade. Often offering opportunities just too good to be true – because they are!
The classic examples are what have become known as the Nigerian emails. These told of families with vast fortunes trying to move their monies to Europe. They wanted you to be their agent, lodge the money in your bank account and pay you a huge fee in return.
All they needed was your bank details to transfer their funds into etc...
There is a good reason why such emails are still floating about. In a tiny percentage of cases people are still duped – falling for the get rich quick promise.
Invariably people don’t get in rich but often end up considerably poorer as their bank accounts are cleaned out in minutes.
Some scams are now considerably cleverer than this example - but the golden rule is there is rarely ‘something for nothing’.