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How to protect yourself from malicious emails

Cyberfraud is becoming increasingly sophisticated, but you can protect yourself by being aware of the tactics that scammers use.

email notifcation - main

One of the most common methods is a phishing email. This is an attempt by criminals to get personal or sensitive information from you by pretending to come from organisations such as banks, phone companies or, in a recent example, a student finance provider (see below).

 phishing email example

They sometimes show what may look like tailored information that you wouldn’t always think to check. The fraudulent email will link to a fake website made to look like the real thing.

You can stay safe by being aware of the warning signs. Be suspicious if an email has any of the following characteristics:

  • Requests for personal information, such as postal address, password or bank details. These are often worded to sound urgent, such as a problem with your account.
  • It asks you to do things like update your details or reactivate an account by clicking on a link
  • Generic greetings such as ‘Dear student’ or ‘Dear user’
  • The use of subject lines designed to trick you into thinking you know the sender
  • Short, vague or odd-sounding messages with an attachment
  • The email wants you to download an attachment that you weren’t expecting
  • Promises that sound too good to be true
  • Vague or inaccurate signatures
  • Emails with poor spelling and grammar

Check the sender’s e-mail address to make sure it’s legitimate. It could be ‘spoofed’ to appear like an authentic address. If in doubt, just delete the message.

If you are ever in any doubt about accounts or applications that you have with an organisation, double check by using the official contact details for that company – don’t follow any links in a suspicious email. 

Be careful opening links and attachments. Even if you know the sender, don’t click on links that could direct you to a malicious website. And don't open attachments unless you're expecting a file from someone.

If you receive any suspicious email, please report it to the ITMS Service Desk at DMU by email at itmsservicedesk@dmu.ac.uk or phone 0116 250 6050.

Posted on Monday 25th September 2017

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