Salisbury Business Improvement District

Advice: Cyber crime and detecting phishing emails

11th May 2020

With the increase of home working and spending more time online due to the coronavirus pandemic, unfortunately has come the rise of cyber crime and fraud.

Latest figures from Action Fraud (the national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime) already show a loss of over £2 million from COVID-19 related reports.

Cyber criminals are opportunistic and will look to exploit any event; it’s no surprise that they’re exploiting the coronavirus pandemic.

The most common cyber crime method used is phishing, when criminals try to convince you to click on links within a scam email or text message, or give sensitive information away.

How to spot a phishing email

Spotting a phishing email can be hard, they are becoming more believable and even the most aware people can be tricked. There are some common signs to look out for:

  • Authority – usually claiming to be someone official
  • Urgency – given a limited time to respond to the request
  • Emotion – praying on fears, curiosity or hope
  • Scarcity – offering product in high demand

If the message was unsolicited, unexpected or from a regular contact but unusual then be cautious. Do NOT click on any links and check the authenticity of the message with the person or company first before acting.

Salisbury IT company, Hill Data, has put together this useful poster to help you spot a phishing email.

How to report a suspicious email

Proactive work is being done to target phishing and the takedown of domains supporting it. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) have launched a new Suspicious Email Reporting Tool.

If you receive a suspicious email, you can forward it to If the email contains links to malicious sites, the NCSC will take down or block those sites.

Useful docs

How to spot a phishing email - Hill Data

How to spot a phishing email - Wiltshire Police

Cyber advice on removable media

Wiltshire Police Business Cyber Update (April 2020)

Useful links

Action Fraud

National Cyber Security Centre

National Business Crime Centre