Just two weeks ago, my card was skimmed at an ATM machine. €350 had been taken from my account, but thankfully I received it back from my bank. Since then I have been incredibly cautious in terms of using street-side ATMs. It has also made me hyper-aware of phishing attempts.
Just this afternoon, I received an email from an account claiming to be from Bank of Ireland. I had been waiting on contact from the bank in relation to the skimming issue, so opened the mail, but noticed straight away that it is a phishing attempt.
These systems are becoming more sophisticated but there are a few simple things you can do to ensure you and your data stay safe.
- Look for urgency: If the email states urgent action is required to verify your details or process a refund, do not act. Chances are it’s a phishing expedition.
- Company info: Many of these phishing attempts involve criminals posing as a well-known company or bank. Always check the sender’s email address. Look at any logos within the email and hover your mouse over any link within the email (don’t click on it); this may show a falsified website. If it doesn’t look legit, bin it.
- Spelling: Watch out for appalling typos or sentences that just don’t make sense. We often scan emails rather than reading them fully so if you are suspicious, take a moment or two to read the entire email. If you spot something that dodgy, bin it.
- Verify: If you are still unsure about the legitimacy of an email, call the provider and explain your situation. This may take a few minutes out of your day, but it’s better than losing money to a phishing scam.