Protect yourself from phishing and doorstep callers

December 22nd, 2016 in Features

Someone holds a tablet with an alert on the screen saying 'phishing'

The real name behind the email or text

Customer and Scotland viewpoint member Robert Dickson took part in an editorial panel contributing articles to Homelife winter edition. His top tips on phishing and what this is can be read here.

Doorstep callers can also pose a risk, especially if it’s a trader or salesperson you’re not expecting. We’ve added some advice on what to do if you suspect someone knocking at your door isn’t who they say they are.

Stay safe on line by Robert Dickson

Like most of you I grew up in a world of black and white television, when having a home phone was a luxury and fishing was done with a bamboo pole with a wee net on the end for catching sticklebacks and minnows.

“Today's world is very different and we all need to be aware of the new dangers we face in our everyday life. Phishing is one of those dangers and it's very easy to be scammed by tech-savvy criminals.

What is Phishing?

Well firstly it's called phishing because it dangles bait and a lure to get your attention, usually in the form of an email.

These would pretend to come from an institution you would trust, your bank, credit card company, your broadband supplier or even your child's school or university and they are very realistic in their appearance.

Their main objective is to get information from you that you would not normally expect to provide; bank account details-passwords-credit card details or even the answer to security questions you may have used.

All of these details can be used in online identity theft, allowing them to steal money from your bank account or use your credit card fraudulently and other types of fraud.

How to spot a Phishing Attacks

Although the email may appear very realistic there are several ways in which they're different; banks and credit card providers will never ask you to provide private information such as account numbers, security details, passwords or credit card information.

Avoiding a phishing attack

The simplest way is to check your emails carefully and don't be scared by emails claiming your account is under threat of being closed, don't click on links on emails, only enter sensitive information on a secure website, not an email.

With a little care and a little common sense, you can avoid these attacks and keep yourself safe from cyber-criminals. 

Door step callers

Unfortunately, scammers don’t just hide behind a computer screen. Some are very real and come knocking at our doors.

These types of thieves pretending to be a trader or from agencies or organisations will on the surface look like genuine callers but their aim is to persuade you to part with your money or steal from your house.

National Trading Standards say that 85% of victims of these types of crimes are aged 65 and over.

There are steps you can take to protect yourself from a rogue trader.

Age UK says use the lock, stop, chain, check procedure when answering your door, day or night.

  • Lock: secure all your other outer doors as the person at the door may intend to distract you while an accomplice gets in through a back door
  • Stop: think about whether you’re expecting anyone
  • Chain: put the door chain on or look through the window or spyhole to see who’s there
  • Check: ask for an identity card and examine it carefully - you can always tell the caller to come back another time when someone will be with you.

Home Group staff tend to pre book appoints with you and will always carry identification but if you are worried always call our Customer Service Advisors on 0345 141 4663 and check before letting someone in.