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Blogs | Information Security Guide

How to Avoid Email, Phone and text Scams

We have recently partnered with The Defence Works, an award-winning provider of GCHQ-accredited security awareness training to create a series of guides to share best practices when it comes to keeping personal data, safe. Find out more below…

Email fraud/ Phishing

Here’s how it works and how to avoid email and phone scams:

You receive what looks like a genuine email from a reputable person or company.

The email will ask you to click a link for further information, or to get a refund.

You might be asked to download something – typically, this will be malicious software (malware) posing as something else or it might simply be directing you to a phishing website, where they’re hoping you’ll enter your personal information so that they can exploit it.

The software and/or your credentials helps fraudsters to access your details, and your money.

What can you do to avoid email and phone scams:

You receive what looks like a genuine email from a reputable person or company.

The email will ask you to click a link for further information, or to get a refund.


phone and email scams iconAlways check the sender’s email address – genuine email addresses are usually firstname.lastname@companyname.com.

email scams iconFraudsters will make it difficult to spot differences in email addresses – e.g. @apple.com might be shown as @app1e.com or @johnlewis.com may be shown as @john-lewis.com.

How to avoid email scamsDon’t always trust emails even if they look legitimate, as email addresses can be spoofed to look genuine.

william russell fraud iconGet into the habit of always hovering your mouse over a link in an email to be shown the URL address. If it does not match the @companyname.com in the email be very cautious about clicking the link.

expat safety tipsIf it looks suspicious, delete the email.

Diligence when downloading icon Call the organisation to check the email is genuine.

Fraudster iconIf you do click on the attachment/ link in the email and suspect it’s fraudulent, disconnect yourself from the internet immediately and get help.

Be wary of Vishing phone calls

vishing phone hacksIf you’re called by someone (claiming to be from a reputable company, your bank, or the police) who wants you to divulge personal information about yourself or your bank account, or asks you to hand over bank cards or cash, it could be a so-called ‘vishing’ scam – a term that comes from combining ‘voice’ and ‘phishing’.

For example, a call out of the blue alerts you to possible fraud on your account. The caller claims to be a police officer or from your bank’s fraud prevention department. Or you receive an unexpected call about a refund or problem with your payment card.

To resolve it, they ask you to confirm your payment and bank account details. You share these, and the fraudsters take payments from your account

What you should do?

William Russell Accident Benefit Put the phone down when they are for your payment of bank details. Do not share this information over the phone.

William Russell Accident Benefit If you do share your details, call your bank immediately.

William Russell Accident Benefit You should use a different phone to the one they called you on, because vishing fraudsters can intercept your outgoing calls, even after you’ve ended the fraudulent call – so they could pretend to be your bank (for example) when you try to report them.

How to spot smishing text messages

Have you received a text message from a number you don’t recognise? Or from a company asking you to do something? It could be a ‘smishing’ scan. ‘Smishing’ comes from combining SMS (Short Message Service) and ‘phishing’.

Here’s an example:

  • You receive a text you weren’t expecting
  • The text contains a link to a website and asks you to click through – or asks you to call a number you don’t recognise
  • When you click or call, you are asked to provide personal information – such as your bank account details or bank account password
  • Other examples include claims that you can enter your details to win vouchers for shopping

What should you do?

  • Don’t click on any links from texts you don’t recognise
  • Check the phone number is genuine
  • Even if the text comes from a known contact, think about if it sounds too good to be true…because it probably is! These scams are designed to tempt you take action!
  • If you suspect this might be fraud, delete the text message from your phone

For more information please click here

Keeping customer’s information secure

To find out more about the guides and top tips for keeping your information safe click on the articles below

William Russell Accident Benefit  General digital safety tips

William Russell Accident Benefit icon  How to set a good password

William Russell Accident Benefit icon  Staying safe on social media

Defense work IconWilliam Russell in partnership with The Defence Works

Blogs | Information Security Guide

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