BOGUS communications have been sent to businesses in Hampshire, trying to trick the recipient into giving out personal details.

Hampshire County Council sent out a warning about the scams, after receiving a number of complaints.

Helen Woods, business support officer for the council’s regulatory services, said: “In these scams, criminals send bogus communications – emails, letters, instant messages or text messages.

“Very often these appear to be authentic communications from legitimate organisations. Embedded links within the message can direct you to a hoax website where your login or personal details may be requested.

“Once personal details have been accessed these are used to commit fraud crimes such as identity theft and bank fraud.”

She said phishing messages usually try to convince the recipient that they are from a trusted source, such as a bank or telecoms provider, and added: “Criminals also target business users by claiming that they have specific knowledge of the businesses.

“These may be business critical issues – customer feedback, requests for information, staffing or legal notices.”

Advice issued on how to avoid becoming a victim of this crime, includes not giving out personal details when responding to emails or phone calls; not responding to a message from an unknown source; and remembering that banks will never contact customers by email to ask for passwords or other sensitive information.

Other tips to note include the email address that appears in the ‘from’ field of an email is not a guarantee that the email came from that person or organisation, and phishing emails may contain the odd spelling or grammatical errors, or include random capital letters or numbers within words in the ‘subject box’. This is an attempt to bypass spam filters.

Anyone who receives anything suspicious should forward the details to