Email scams

Sign up for scam alerts

Email scams, also called phishing scams, are on the rise as scammers come up with new tricks to try and steal your personal information and bank details. Some emails have malicious software attached which can infect your computer, tablet or mobile with a virus.

What to do if you have received a scam email

You should not:

  • click on any links in the email
  • reply to the email or contact the senders in any way
  • supply any information on others websites if you have clicked on external links in the email
  • open any attachments that arrive with the email.

If you think you may have compromised the safety of your bank details and/or have lost money due to fraudulent misuse of your cards, you should immediately contact your bank.

Spot a fake email

An email is usually fake if:

  • the sender's email address doesn't tally with the trusted organisation's website address
  • the email is sent from a completely different address or a free web mail address
  • the email does not use your proper name, but uses a non-specific greeting like "dear customer"
  • there is a sense of urgency; for example the threat that unless you act immediately your account may be closed
  • there is a prominent website link - this can be forged or seem very similar to the proper address, but even a single character's difference means a different website
  • it is a request for personal information such as user name, password or bank details
  • the email contains spelling and grammatical errors
  • you weren't expecting to get an email from the company that appears to have sent it
  • the entire text of the email is contained within an image rather than the usual text format
  • the image contains an embedded hyperlink to a bogus site.

To find out if there’s a scammer behind a genuine email address by using your mouse to hover the cursor over, or right-click on the sender's name. You should see the real email address behind it.

Stay safe

Make sure you stay safe online by keeping your antivirus software up to date and renewing it regularly.

Unsubscribing from mailing lists

It is unlawful to send unsolicited direct marketing e-mails or text messages to you, unless you have previously told them it's ok to do so.

If there is an existing customer relationship between you and the company, they can send you unsolicited messages about similar products and services, as long as you are given the option to refuse it.

Usually, emails will have an option at the bottom of the email to enable you to unsubscribe from their mailing list.

Read more about cyber crime.

Report a scam