phishing scamsThe Charities Commission for England and Wales has issued a warning and guidance to charities over the increased incidences of phishing scams affecting the UK.

The Charities Commission is concerned that the increasing threats via electronic communication such as email. internet pop-ups and voice and text messages may expose charity trustees and workers as easy prey for scam artists.

The advice provided to charities is, as you would expect, in line with common good practice for all users both personally and in their employment but the key points are always worth reviewing.

  • make sure charity software has up-to-date virus protection (though it will not always prevent you from becoming infected)

  • don’t click on links or open any attachments you receive in unsolicited emails or SMS messages. Fraudsters can ‘spoof’ an email address to make it look like it’s from a trusted source. If you’re unsure, check the email header to identify the true source of communication. Information on how to find email headers is available on the MX Toolbox website

  • always install software updates as soon as they become available, they will often include fixes for critical security vulnerabilities

  • if your current software does not offer an ‘anti-spyware’ function, consider installing software which does, it can detect key loggers

  • make regular backups of your important files to an external hard drive, memory stick or online storage provider. But, it’s important that the device you back up to is not left connected to your computer, as a malware infection could spread to that too

  • if you suspect your bank details have been accessed, you should contact your bank immediately

The Charities Commission also reminds charities that if they do suspect they may been targeted or indeed the subject of a scam they should report the ,matter to Action Fraud

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