Suspicious emails and calls – how to spot and stop them

January 9, 2019

A number of members have contacted us to report suspicious emails and calls claiming to be Checkatrade.

SUSPICIOUS EMAILS

We want to work with you to help you stay safe online – particularly how to spot scams and suspicious emails.

Here are two of the most recent examples of suspicious emails that our members have received:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you think you have received a suspicious email, do not respond to it, and do not click on any links contained within it.

Still unsure? The following top 10 tips will help you spot and stop an email scam:

  1. Check the ‘from’ email address

Scammers often change the ‘from’ name to make it look more like it is from Checkatrade.

A scam email usually has a fairly bizarre email address behind what looks like a genuine sender name.

To find out if there’s a fraudster behind what looks like a genuine sender, use your mouse to hover the cursor over or right-click on the sender name and you should see the email address behind it.

  1. Press ‘reply’ and check who you are emailing

One of the easiest ways to check if an email sender is a scam is to press ‘reply’, and check that the ‘to’ is a Checkatrade email address.

  1. Check the contact information and dates

Does the ‘contact us’ information at the bottom of the email link to anything? Is it clickable? Are the websites it links to genuine? If the answer is no, you should be on your guard.

To see where a weblink links to without actually clicking on it, simply hover your mouse cursor over the link. In the bottom left-hand corner of your web browser, the web address where the link goes to will appear.

Are the copyright dates (or any others) up to date? Often scammers will forget this detail.

  1. Check for Checkatrade branding

Take a closer look at the Checkatrade logo and keep an eye on the quality of any artwork and branding within the email.  Wonky logos and wrong colours can strongly indicate if the email is a scam.

Is the branding on the email the same as it is on the Checkatrade website? Does it match the last genuine email you received from us? If the answer is no, be suspicious.

  1. Check that links are legit

We would only email you with a link to checkatrade.com so double check for any dodgy looking links. Chances are, they’ll be suspicious, so don’t click on them.

If you suspect an email might be from a scammer, do not click on any links or download any attachments featured in the scam email as these may download a computer virus onto your computer.

Make sure you stay security-savvy and ensure your antivirus software is always up to date, as this will provide an extra layer of protection if you have unknowingly downloaded a computer virus after clicking a link or downloading an attachment.

  1. Asking for personal or bank details?

If an email is asking you to update your login details, validate your membership or enter your personal or bank details out of the blue, it is likely going to be a scam.

Personal information includes things like your National Insurance number, your credit card number, Pin number, or credit card security code, your mother’s maiden name or any other security answers you may have entered.

We will never ask for personal information to be supplied via email.

  1. Poor spelling, grammar and presentation?

Increasingly scammers are getting better at presenting suspicious emails that are more or less free of poor spelling and grammar. But, you should still watch out for these tell-tale signs.

More common is to see a real lack of consistency with the presentation of the email, which may include several different font styles, font sizes, font spacing and a mismatch of logos.

  1. Trying too hard to be ‘official’?

Scammers often try hard to make the email sound official. They will do this in a number of ways, including using the word ‘official’.

You are unlikely to see the messaging in a truly official email shouting about how official it is.

Scam emails may also contain information such as account numbers and IDs designed to trick you into thinking the email is genuine. Check any of these against your records to see if they match.

  1. Trying to rush you?

Fraudsters will try to pressure you with time-sensitive offers, encouraging you to act now or miss out on ‘exclusive’ deals.

Take your time to make all the checks you need. If the message is alerting you to look at something linked to your Checkatrade membership, you should log in to the members area separately in a new tab or window.

It’s better to miss out on a genuine deal than risk compromising your personal details or money.

  1. Check with Checkatrade!

If you’re still unsure whether a scammer is behind the email you received, send the email to [email protected] to double check whether we have tried to contact you.

If in doubt, delete.

SUSPICIOUS CALLS

If you receive a phone call that you think is suspicious, please hang up and then dial 01243 601234 to check whether we called you.

Remember to set up a memorable word for extra security, which you can do by logging into the members area.

If in doubt, hang up.

 

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