Don't take the bait and get caught by phishers. / sur

Look out for new phishing scam warns Guardia Civil in Spain

Hackers are now pretending to be official institutions such as the Hacienda tax authority or the Directorate-General for Traffic in order to steal people's data

JUAN ROIG VALOR Madrid

Phishing is one of the most common cyber-crime techniques. It basically consists of making the victim provide their personal information to what they think is an official Internet portal, but is actually a fake.

In 2022, most of us know someone who has been subjected to phishing, or has been the attempted target. One of the most frequent methods the criminals use is to send SMS messages which are supposedly from a courier service, saying they are trying to deliver a package.

Now, at the time when people are about to present their annual tax returns, a new form of fraud has started, where hackers pretend to be the government, the Hacienda tax office or the Directorate-General for Traffic and send an email demanding urgent payment of a fine.

It is important to remember that phishing is not damaging as long as the criminals do not access your sensitive information. In these emails, they try to get people to click on a link and it often works because of the sense of urgency they transmit.

Although the communication may look official, with stamps, logos and the names of genuine institutions such as the Ministry of the Interior, it is essential not to click on any link in the message. Hacienda and the Traffic authority never use emails, messages or phone calls to ask for money. They always use traditional methods such as registered letters.

Over time, phishing methods have become more sophisticated and more convincing, and that is why everyone needs to be very cautious and pay attention to details which may indicate that the sender is not legitimate: check that the email comes from an official domain, whether the fonts used are unusual or whether the phone number does not show a Spanish prefix (+34).

These attempts at phishing have become so widespread recently that the Guardia Civil has even taken to Twitter to warn users and advise them about what they can do to avoid falling into the traps.