Two thirds of Which? members have had a scam email falsely claiming to be from a bank or social network. Are scam emails clogging up your inbox?
I have plenty of dodgy emails clogging up my junk email inbox – not just offers for Viagra, but also emails claiming to be from my bank. Sometimes I even get scam emails from banks I’ve never banked with before!
It turns out I’m not alone. More than two thirds of Which? members have also received emails purporting to be from a financial institution or social network.
So which financial institution is most often impersonated by fraudsters? That dubious accolade goes to Barclays, with more than a third having received an email claiming to be from this particular bank. Other institutions impersonated include Lloyds TSB, Santander, Halifax and HSBC. And just over 10% have had a scam email claiming to be from Facebook.
Spotting a scam email
Bank email scams often say there’s a problem with your account, and ask you to update your bank details, either by email or by clicking on a link. Hyperlinks or attached files can also be used to infect your computer with malicious software.
You should never reply to an email that claims to be from your bank, or click on suspicious looking links. We’ve also put together a gallery of example phishing emails sent to Which? employees – have a look to ensure you’re not caught out.
You need to look out for inconsistent and emotive wording, anything that creates a sense of urgency to respond (eg that you must review your account within 12 hours), or that clicking a link will help verify your account immediately.
Reporting a scam email
So, now that you’ve spotted a sneaky scam email – what’s next? It can be difficult to know who to report them to.
If you’re the victim of a mimicking scam, where fraudsters pretend to be from a genuine company, it’s worth contacting the company that has been mimicked. This will allow them to take steps to prevent others falling victim. It’s also a good idea to report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and crime reporting centre.
Have you ever been sent a scam email claiming to be from your bank? If so, which bank and what did you do about it?