Hand holding a phone

Every year UK companies and individuals are subject to thousands of cyber-attacks where fraudsters try to get personal information through “phishing” or “smishing” attempts.

Published: 06/08/2021

Often criminals pretend to be a company and trick a victim into clicking on links for financial or other gain. It’s important to be aware of the risks and not to click on any links in emails (phishing) or texts (smishing) that seem unusual, are asking for sensitive or financial information or that are offering you something that seems too good to be true. This can also happen in person by someone calling you (fishing).

Here's how to make sure that you don’t become a victim of bogus texts or emails:

  • Don’t click on links in emails or text messages unless you’re 100% certain they’re genuine.
  • Look out for spelling mistakes, messages that are asking you to act urgently, or provide financial or sensitive information.
  • Be particularly cautious of messages that mention financial issues, or promise something that seems too good to be true.
  • If in doubt, Google the organisation and call the number provided for them – then ask over the phone if the message is genuine.
  • Remember that even if a message appears to be from a trusted person or organisation, their number or email may have been hacked. This is an example of a bogus text which appeared to be from the Government offering financial support during COVID-19.
  • Don't respond to the message at all – if you do so you’re more likely to be targeted again in future.

Report spam messages

You can report spam text messages directly to your mobile phone provider free of charge by forwarding them to 7726 from the device they were received on.

Report phishing emails

Finally, if you have lost money or information as a result of a smishing text, or via any other fraudulent activity, please report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 20 40 or by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.

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