It’s the season to be jolly – and to watch out for phishing scams…

What are they

phishingPhishing scams try to trick you into providing sensitive personal information e.g. your credit card or bank details.
The scammers do this by sending you an email disguised as an official request for information. They’ll pretend to be a legitimate company – often one that you actually do business with – and they might create a  website that closely resembles the company’s official site.

The scams can be very good – and look very authentic – so it can be easy to get taken in if you’re not careful.

There are often more phishing emails sent at this time of year – the scammers know we’re busy with our online shopping – and that some of us could be easy targets.

If you get caught by phishing scam, the scammers could

  • Take over your bank account – and transfer funds from it to their own accounts
  • Use your credit card details – to buy stuff that you end up getting charged for
  • Steal your identity – and then carry out all sorts of fraudulent activities in your name

It can take months (or years) to clear your name if you become a victim – you might need to sort out legal issues, recover from debt and repair damaged credit ratings – so it’s best not to get caught.

If you think you have received a phishing email


  • Click on any links
  • Supply any personal information
  • Reply to the email or try to contact the senders
  • Supply any information on the website that may appear (if you have clicked a link in the email)
  • Open any of the email attachments


  • Ignore it
  • Delete it
  • If it has come into your email report it to

If you think you have been caught

  • Change your passwords as soon as possible
  • Contact your bank or credit card company to get a hold put on your accounts


Companies, banks, Heriot-Watt University and other genuine institutions WILL NOT ask you for, or ask you to confirm, your credit card or bank details, PINs or passwords by email.

If you receive an email that you want to check out, phone the company to find out if they have sent it (using a phone number from correspondence you have already had with them – not by using one in the email you think might be a scam).

Don’t get caught!

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1 Comment

  1. Beware – take care – avoid getting caught by email or phishing scams | InformS

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