Beware of Electronic Communication Scams
Published: 06 April 2020
If you receive an electronic communication be suspicious.
Emails, text messages, instant messages could be a scam. Do not click on blue or any colour links within electronic messages unless you have verified who the sender is.
If in doubt, don’t click.
Links are just a shortcut to a website.
Instead, you could consider logging into your account the message refers to, using your tried, tested and trusted way.
So, if the message appears to be from HMRC and you do actually have a HMRC account, then come out of your email account and visit www.gov.uk and login that way rather than clicking on a link.
If you don’t have a HMRC account then be very suspicious and ignore it.
If the message purports to be from Amazon, eBay, Netflix, DVLA, the list is endless, the same applies don’t click on the link but login to your account using a tried, tested and trusted way.
If you want information about coronavirus and COVID-19 visit www.nhs.uk or Public Health England via www.gov.uk
Please don’t go searching the internet because you may just read something untrue, or your device will get infected with malware because you visited a website controlled by a cyber criminal.
Just because a web address contains HTTPS it does not mean it is a genuine site.
Criminals can use HTTPS in their web/link address.
HTTPS just means that the connection between you and the website is secure.
Ensure you are visiting a genuine website, if you have anti-virus/malware installed and updated, a Firewall installed and updated they may warn you if you are about to visit an untrusted website but what if they don’t? Be careful when clicking on the results of a search and ensure you are visiting a genuine site.
If you know the address of the website such as www.gov.uk then type it direct into the address bar at the top of your browser rather than searching for it in the search box in the middle of your screen.
Here is one way of assessing whether a website is unsafe.
Google offer a service called Google Transparency Report at www.transparencyreport.google.com/safe-browsing/search
You will then be asked to enter the suspect web address (URL) into the search box and press return.
It will then make an assessment based on data it holds (and that is a lot) and give you an indication as to whether the website can be trusted or not as the case maybe.
For those of you curious enough, Google offer a lot of advice on this subject which can easily be found using the transparency report website.
To report fraud or cyber crime, and for advice on how to avoid it visit www.actionfraud.police.uk