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Gmail and Outlook users warned about new email threat that has experts concerned


Use Gmail or Outlook? You need to be on the lookout for a dangerous new email scam, security experts have warned. Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime, has raised the alarm about a number of dangerous new emails, including suspicious ASDA and PayPal messages.

The fraudulent ASDA email attempts to trick victims into clicking on a dangerous web link by claiming the recipient has won a gift card. This con claims the recipient is able to claim a voucher worth £100 to spend in-store. To claim the free cash reward, the victim is told, you’ll need to share a number of personal details.

Of course, this is all part of a tried-and-tested tactic used by scammers to convince victims into handing over personal information. Revealing the threat, Action Fraud said: “Watch out for this Asda gift card scam. Action Fraud has received 159 reports within 48 hours about fake emails purporting to be from Asda.

“The emails state that the recipient can win a ‘£100 promo reward gift card’ by completing a marketing survey. The links provided in the emails lead to phishing websites that are designed to steal your personal information.”

To help people falling for this – and similar scams – Action Fraud advised: “Your bank, or any other official organisation, won’t ask to share personal information over email or text. If you need to check that it’s a genuine message, call them directly.”

Elsewhere, Action Fraud has also warned Gmail and Outlook users about another scam email that is being circulated. This time around it’s a bogus PayPal message, with the recipient allegedly locked out of their account.

READ MORE: WhatsApp and Gmail messages can be hacked – here’s how to stay safe

Once again though, this is all part of a scam to steal sensitive information – this time around PayPal login details.

Given PayPal gives easy access to a user’s credit cards, having this information stolen could lead to a victim being severely out of pocket.

Action Fraud warned: “PayPal scam reported 244 times in one week. Action Fraud has received 244 reports this week about fake emails purporting to be from PayPal. The emails state that the recipient’s PayPal account has been ‘temporarily restricted’. The links provided in the email lead to genuine-looking phishing websites that are designed to steal PayPal login details, as well as personal and financial information.”

If you receive a suspicious looking email then you can forward it to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS). The email address for this is report@phishing.gov.uk.

Action Fraud also on its website offers advice on how you can spot a fake email.

Here are some of the warning signs to look out for…

• The sender’s email address doesn’t tally with the trusted organisation’s website address.

• The email is sent from a completely different address or a free web mail address.

• The email does not use your proper name, but uses a non-specific greeting like “dear customer”.

• A sense of urgency; for example the threat that unless you act immediately your account may be closed.

• A prominent website link. These can be forged or seem very similar to the proper address, but even a single character’s difference means a different website.

• A request for personal information such as user name, password or bank details.

• The email contains spelling and grammatical errors.

• You weren’t expecting to get an email from the company that appears to have sent it.

• The entire text of the email is contained within an image rather than the usual text format.

• The image contains an embedded hyperlink to a bogus site.

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