Online frauds can be hard to spot, and scammers are finding smarter, less obvious ways to copy your identity and gain access to your accounts, to steal your money.
The latest scam doing the rounds involves a fake email claiming to be from Apple or Netflix. You get an email claiming that you’ve mistakenly been charged for products from iTunes or an annual Netflix subscription. All you need to do to claim your refund is – you’ve guessed it – click on the link and enter your bank details.
Apple have stressed that they would never ask for bank details or three-digit security code on the back of cards in an email. This is just one of many scams that pop up every so often and it’s important to spot the tell-tale signs and be more vigilant in the future - here's how.
Keep your eyes peeled and don’t rush through emails
There are a number of ways that you can spot a phishing email scam and we’re going to take you through some of the most common.
• There are small things you can spot on a phishing scam, and poor grammar is certainly one. So look out for bad spelling and any grammatical errors, as these are both tell-tale signs of a fake.
• Check the email address listed. It may say it’s from Apple or Netflix but that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been sent from a completely different address.
• If you get an email from a host or site you don’t recognise, be sure not to open links or attachments included with it. Hover over the link to discover where it really leads to. The true URL address will show up on your mobile device or the left-hand corner of your computer or laptop screen, so check this first. If the URL is not sending you to an official site, be sure to delete the email and ignore any future emails from the same sender.
• Emails from scammers tend be sent in bulk, so they won’t have your name at the top, instead they’ll start with a generic opening such as “Dear customer”, or “Dear member”, so be sure to look out for this.
• Always have up-to-date anti-virus security software on your machine. You can get free antivirus software from companies like Avast, AVG and Panda Security. This is true even if you use an Apple Mac, which many people used to think were exempt from viruses and malware.
• Lastly, if something doesn’t look quite right, it probably isn’t. Follow your instincts and delete the email if things don’t quite add up.
There’s lots more help and advice on the Action Fraud website. That’s also where to head to report a crime if you’ve become a victim (as well as letting us or your account provider know as soon as you can).
Remember, if you get an email that you’re not sure about, before clicking on a link you can always forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll let you know if it’s genuine.