How to spot suspicious emails, text messages and calls – and the best way to deal with them

Why phishing shouldn’t remind you of your uncle sitting by the lake

Email lets us share information with anyone in the world in seconds. But this level of convenience comes at a cost: cyber criminals can reach you just as easily. ‘Phishing’ emails are seemingly legitimate messages asking you to share information, click a link or open an attachment. Cyber criminals can install malware, steal your data without you knowing and even ‘request a ransom’ by using a phishing email. Here are a few simple tips to stay safe:

Always question unsolicited contact

Be alert to any unexpected email, phone call or fax that claims to be from a bank, credit card or online company with whom you have an account. Never divulge confidential information to anyone if you are unsure of the sender/caller, or the reason for the request. If you are in any doubt about a communication sent in the name of UBS then please contact your client advisor / local branch office.

If an email is suspicious, don't click on the links or download any attachments

Sometimes it can be difficult to spot a genuine email from a phishing email. Look out for an unusual sender address, spelling mistakes and strange elements such as the tone of the email, disclaimers and logos. Don't click on any links or attachments if you have any doubt about the authenticity of the email.

Only visit trustworthy websites

A secure website will start with https:// in front of the address. Bookmark any websites you frequently use to your favourites. Never input any confidential data into webforms if you are uncertain about the legitimacy of the site. Important information: UBS never sends out emails with links to login pages such as e-banking and will never ask you for your e-banking contract number or PIN.

Verify payment requests that are sent via email

If you are expecting to make a payment and receive the bank details over email, then always call the recipient on a known documented number (that is not listed in the email itself) to verify the details.

Ignore emails about allegedly unusual account activity

Phishing emails are often designed to incite curiosity, fear or a sense of urgency in order to get you to click a link or open an attachment. Genuine organizations are highly unlikely to contact you by email in order to tell you about suspicious payments or transfers from your account. Delete any such email and also empty the program's bin. Consider the use of spam filters to block out such emails in the future.

Keep your software up to date

To be even better protected, make sure your antivirus software is regularly updated. Consider the use of spam filters and even "antiphishing" software to help screen out potential phishers on websites and emails.