Understanding email and phishing scams can save you a lot of grief.

1. Phishing

"Phishing" refers to scams that steal sensitive personal information through fraudulent emails, websites or phone calls.

Phishing emails may appear to be from your bank, the Australian Taxation Office, a legitimate business, or even UQ.

The emails are used as bait – they are designed to fool you into disclosing confidential information.

The scammers may claim there is a "problem" with your account and ask you to respond immediately by clicking on a link, or by reentering your password or account information. 

Phishing emails can be difficult to spot, because they are made to look authentic. Scammers often copy the design, branding and logo of the organisation they claim to be from. 

UQ email systems identify extensive daily phishing attacks on staff and students. The overwhelming majority of these attacks are discarded.

While many attacks are easily identified, phishing scams are becoming more sophisticated and can fool even knowledgeable and experienced people.

The best additional defence is for you to be vigilant. Things aren't always what they seem – be sceptical about any unsolicited emails.

More information is available from Scamwatch

Major portions of this page thanks to University Wisconsin-Madison. Used with permission.