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Reform Magazine | June 23, 2021

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How to catch a phish

How to catch a phish

With fraudulent emails going out in the names of Church officers, Andy Jackson, Head of Communications for the United Reformed Church, shares some tips about how to tell what’s false and what’s genuine

A number of people recently received emails from someone claiming to be John Bradbury, the General Secretary of the United Reformed Church. These fake emails had been seen before at Church House, but this attempt had been sent to others in the wider Church. Now such emails seem to be using the names of the URC’s regional synod staff too.

This is called ‘phishing’ – an attempt by criminals to use someone else’s details or website design to trick people into parting with money. For example, you might get an email, supposedly from a person known to you, but from a different email account. It might claim to be from a supplier such as Amazon, or from a payment platform, such as PayPal. I’ve had all of these in one form or another.

These emails will try to get you to part with money, or personal information that will be sold to those trying to get money.

And it’s not just emails – text messages, social media and phones can also be used. Recently, I had an automated voice message at the office saying that our internet service was being stopped. I knew it wasn’t, because the message came from the wrong provider.

But these messages can sound and look genuine.

Emails will be sent to millions of people asking for information such as bank details, or containing links to websites intent on getting information from you…

Andy Jackson is Head of Communications for the United Reformed Church

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This is an extract from an article published in the June 2021 edition of Reform

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