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Something look phishy? How to protect yourself from phishing emails

11 October 2018

Online scam messages used to be easy to spot – fuzzy images, poor grammar, out of the ordinary requests. Nowadays, phishing is big business. Cybercriminals are becoming more convincing in pretending to be large organisations we know and trust.

Phishing is one of the most common types of cybercrime. In its simplest form, phishing is fake messages. Cybercriminals send phishing messages – via email, SMS, instant messaging or social media – to trick you into sharing personal information.

The growth of phishing means most companies now have firm policies that they will not call or email to ask you to update or verify your personal details such as passwords, PINs, credit card information or account details. They will not call you out of the blue to request payment over the phone (for example, for a fine, bank transfer or undeliverable mail item).

Protect yourself from phishing scams by following these simple rules:

  • Be wary - don’t click on links in unexpected emails or in messages from people or organisations you don’t know.
  • Be especially cautious if messages seem too good to be true or threaten something bad might happen to make you take a suggested action.
  • If a message seems suspicious, contact the person or business to check if they are likely to have sent the message. Make sure you use contact details you find through a legitimate source and not the contact details in the suspicious message.
  • Before you click a link, hover over the link to see the actual web address it will take you to.
  • Be particularly cautious of links shortened using URL shortening services - like bit.ly or tinyurl.com - that can hide the real destination of a link.
  • Use a spam filter to block deceptive messages from even reaching you.

For more information on how to reverse the threat of cybercrime and stay smart online, please visit www.staysmartonline.gov.au/reversethethreat.