Online phishing scams operate via e-mail, instant messaging (IM), or by SMS. The purpose of most is to make victims click on a link believing that it will lead them to a legitimate website of their bank, retailer, government agency, or credit card company. The link actually leads to a similar looking fake website where you are asked to divulge personal information.
This can appear to be for a genuine reason (including alleged urgent security or technical problems). Scammers usually ask for login account information, passwords and PIN numbers, etc. This information is stored and used subsequently by phishing scammers for fraudulent purposes.
There are many other similar scams such as chain mail scams, invitations to purchase cheap (counterfeit) software or goods, phony fraud alerts relating to your account or money transfer requests designed to try and trick you into giving out your personal and banking information as well as your money.
How can I protect myself?
If possible, avoid following links from an e-mail, IM, or SMS to a website in order to enter personal information, especially when the communication is unsolicited. Choose instead to type in the official website address for yourself.
Protecting yourself from unwanted spam (or junk) email by making use of spam-filtering software (incorporated into most webmail systems) will reduce the chances of receiving such emails.
Should you receive a suspicious email we would recommend that you do not respond to it and where possible notify the company concerned using their publicly listed contact details immediately. In the case of M&G please forward the suspicious email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s also important to keep up to speed with other fraudulent scams and to find out how to check if an email is genuine.