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Phishing Explained

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Phishing Explained


Phishing is generally defined as "a cybercrime in which a target or targets are contacted by email, phone or text message by someone posing as a legitimate institution to lure individuals into providing sensitive data such as personally identifiable information, banking and credit card details, and passwords. The information is then used to access important accounts and can result in identity theft and financial loss."



People can be targeted for phishing in lots of ways, via email, calls and texts. Some common phishing methods include:

  • Texts and emails featuring links to websites which look legitimate. The person is prompted to enter personal information (e.g. name, phone number, card details). 
  • 'Too good to be true' emails or texts about winning a competition etc. 
  • Email attachments (these can be viruses that will download to your computer if you click on them). 


How to Avoid Phishing

Here are some easy ways to avoid being caught out by a phishing scam:

  • Don't answer the phone if you don't recognise the number.
  • If you receive a missed call from an unknown number, don't call back - you may be charged. This form of phishing is sometimes referred to as a Wangiri call or scam. 
  • Never provide personal information (e.g. name, address, PPS number, bank details) over the phone, via text or email unless you know the person you're talking to. 
  • Don't click on suspicious links in emails or texts. 
  • Don't open attachments on emails unless you know the sender and are expecting an attachment in the email. 
  • Download reliable security software (which generally includes spam filters and virus firewalls) to your PC or laptop. 
  • Be wary of pop ups and advertisements when browsing the web. 
  • Always 'think before you click' when you receive a text or emal. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.