“Are email scammers becoming more sophisticated?” – The rise of email scamming and how individuals and companies should tackle it

email data breach

Email scamming is becoming more sophisticated and commonplace, studies and research has shown.

With bank scams, it’s arguably easier to detect as you would not expect an email from them warning you of a hack. However, you could expect email providers to email you regarding your account, and that’s one popular method used by scammers these days.

Phishing emails

On face value, phishing emails do not seem to be as dangerous in comparison to bank scams. However, malicious emails may attempt to trick you into giving out personal information such as bank details. You can tell the majority of the scam emails apart as they’re usually badly-written and sent from a randomised email.

But they do still manage to trick some people.

Different types of email scams

There are many types of email scams that will try to scam you into giving out personal information. Banking and government scams are probably the most common ones. These scams usually pretend to be a Financial Conduct Authority or HMRC official; asking you to update your bank details to receive a refund, or saying there’s some sort of problem with the account.

Some cyber-hackers have found sending phishing emails to a particular email server more effective than bank customers. This could be because it’s much easier to hack into an email server in comparison to a bank.

Access to your email address could be as valuable as access to your bank details. It could contain financial details as well as a comprehensive record of you if you save your real emails with banks or similar organisations. Many email accounts are also linked with other accounts too, and you may use your email address for another online account that could now be open to attack.

What’s real and what’s fake?

It’s sometimes difficult to separate the real and fake emails. Some legitimate bank emails address customers using their title followed by their surname, but others do just address them as “Dear Customer” – a tactic that is usually deployed by phishing emails. The inconsistencies can make it harder for users to distinguish between authentic emails.

Call to businesses to be proactive

In the digital era, where technology is becoming pivotal in all our lives, it’s important that companies and organisations are doing enough to protect their consumers from irreversible data breaches. Interested groups have launched a campaign called “Safeguard us from Scams” in a bid to pressurise the Government to regulate the area and to protect customers from cyber-attacks. The importance of this is highlighted in their statistics, with a record of around five million scams per year.

Action Fraud

Action Fraud is a national fraud and cyber-crime reporting centre in the U.K. that is responsible for protecting individuals from fraud. It encourages individuals, businesses, organisations and large corporations to report suspicious emails. The reports received by Action Fraud are then forwarded to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.

Word of advice…

If you’re ever unsure about a phishing email, delete it immediately. Your bank won’t usually contact you via email regarding something serious. Never click on a link that may look suspicious to you. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.

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