Two thirds of Which? members have had a scam email delivered to their inbox, falsely claiming to be from a bank or social networking site.
A further one in ten had reason to believe they’d received a scam communication, but weren’t certain.
More than a third of the 980 Which? members who responded to the survey in June 2013 said they received an email claiming to be from Barclays Bank, while just over 10% received a fraudulent email claiming to be from Facebook.
Bank email scams involve sending convincing emails purporting to be from your bank or from a trusted establishment, such as the Financial Conduct Authority.
If you think you’ve been sent a fraudulent email, read our guide on how to report an email scam.
Top 5 scam emails
Barclays topped the list of financial institutions being impersonated by fraudsters, with 36% of respondents having received a scam email claiming to be from them.
Fake Lloyds TSB emails were sent to 35% of respondents, while 31% received false Santander emails and 30% received an email impersonating Halifax and HSBC respectively.
Our gallery below shows some examples of phishing emails sent to Which? employees.
Telltale signs of phishing emails
Fraudsters often use hyperlinks or attached files within phishing emails as a way to infect your computer with malicious software, or encourage you to enter your details on a fake website that looks genuine.
Never reply to an email that claims to be from your bank, and never click on a link in an email you think may be suspicious.
Which? Legal service lawyer Peter McCarthy said: ‘If you’re the victim of a phishing scam all is not lost. Usually the most you’ll stand to lose is £50 as your bank has to refund the rest.
‘Most banks would waive the £50 deduction in such cases. Check your bank’s terms and conditions to see where you stand.’
Reporting a scam
If you spot a scam, it’s not always clear who you should report it to, and there are different companies you should contact, depending on the scam. Find out more with our guide on how to report a scam.
If you’re the victim of a mimicking scam, where fraudsters pretend to be from a genuine company, it’s worth contacting the company that has been mimicked as the company can then warn other people about the scam.
It’s also worth reporting the scam to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and crime reporting centre. It provides a central point of contact about fraud and financially motivated internet crime.
It offers an online reporting tool or you can call and speak to an advisor on 0300 123 2040.
- Read our guide on how to get your money back after a scam
- Read our guide on how to protect yourself from scams online
- Solve your everyday consumer problems with our Consumer Rights site