Safety from hoaxes


Watch out for phishing

Online hoaxes are getting more sophisticated – making it tough to know whether an email, SMS or website is real. It’s important you learn how to spot the fakes so you stay safer online.

Identifying a phishing email

It can be difficult to spot a phishing email. The people behind them are experts at manipulating internet users.

Here’s some things that may indicate the email is a hoax :

  • Generic email greetings: We’ll always address you by your first and last name.
  • Attachments: We’ll never email you attachments or software updates.
  • Deceptive URLs or false links.
  • Wrong, out of date or out of place logos, design and type.
  • Upsetting or urgent statements demanding you react immediately.
  • Bad spelling and grammar.
  • Requests for financial or personal information.
  • Amazing, too good to be true offers.

See examples of hoax and phishing emails

Remember, we’ll never ask you to click a link in an email to provide your personal or financial information. If you receive an email asking you to provide these details, report it to

Take the Fight Phishing Challenge


Check the funds are in your PayPal account

When you receive a payment notification for a sale by email, log in to your PayPal account to ensure the funds are shown before shipping the item.

Identifying a hoax website

Hoax websites often look like the real thing. Here are some things to bear in mind:

  • When logging in to banking, shopping or email websites, always look for 'https' at the beginning of the URL – the 's' stands for secure.
  • Check for the padlock symbol in your browser’s address bar.
  • Phishers often create a fake website with a similar URL to a bank or well-known business. Make sure the address is genuine.
  • Enter the address of sites you visit regularly straight into your browser’s address bar. Don’t rely on links in emails or from search engines as they could be fake.

Identifying a scam

Scams are approaches from strangers trying to trick you into giving them money. Look out for emails or SMSs that include:

  • Offers to pay more than usual for a product.
  • Requests to use or pay a buyer’s shipping company or agent. If the buyer sends you money for shipping by PayPal, ensure the funds are available in your account first. Be wary of buyers who insist you pay by wire transfer.
  • The promise of money in return for a favour.
  • A promise to donate money to charity if you contact them.
  • Notifications of lottery wins.
  • Unsolicited job offers.

Also beware of any unexpected emails from a friend asking for money. Their email account may have been hacked.

Helpful security links