Help! I Just Clicked On A Phishing Email Or Text

Phishing emails

Phishing messages generally fall into one of two types - links to spoofed websites that try to steal your personal details, or email attachments that contain malware.

For help on identifying whether the email or text you're concerned about was a phishing message or not see this page here. If in doubt, always follow the tips below.

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If you opened an email attachment...

A virus infected attachment

An unexpected attachment - likely to be loaded with viruses!

A common type of phishing email are ones with attachments infected with viruses.

These might be disguised as an invoice, a delivery note, or something else that is designed to encourage you to open it.

The file may even have been crafted to look legitimate when you open them so as to minimise suspicion - just because they open normally & look like the document they're claiming to be doesn't mean that they're innocent.

There's several indicators you could look for to confirm your suspicions of it being infected (for example if it asked you to "Enable Macros"), but to be safe it's best to just always assume the worst - and follow the steps below.

Check your PC for viruses

A virus scan

The most important step to take if you ever open one of these attachments is to check your PC for viruses - follow our guide to removing computer viruses. Make sure you follow the Recovery steps in Section 3 on that page too, including checking that your all your software is up to date.

It's also always a good idea to re-run the virus scan after a couple of days as well - if the virus is new then it can take a couple of days for antivirus programs to catch up.

Delete the email and attachment

Delete the email and attachment

Keeping the email won't do any harm to your computer if you never touch it again, but to be really safe you should delete it (and any copies of the attachment if you saved them). This will help prevent any accidental opening of the attachment in the future, for example by a family member who stumbles across it.

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