Frequently asked questions about phishing


02 Apr 2009

Anyone using the internet should be wary of online phishing scams. Please read the information below for your protection.

What is phishing?

Phishing is an attempt by fraudsters to 'fish' for personal information such as the security credentials you use for banking. Someone can send you an e-mail which appears to come from your bank or an organisation you have registered with, such as PayPal. The e-mail asks you to click on a link and/or to confirm your username or password and in this way they obtain your details.

How do fraudsters get my e-mail address?

These lists are never provided by us. Lists of e-mail addresses are bought or traded between unscrupulous parties.

How do they know where I bank?

They probably don't know where you bank, but if they send enough e-mails they are likely to reach some customers.

The e-mail says it's from HSBC – is it?

HSBC will not send e-mails to customers requesting or containing security or confidential details, such as ID numbers, account log on details or memorable word information. We will never ask you to enter or confirm your security details. By contrast, this is typically what a phishing e-mail does when it tries to obtain your security details.

We will, however, send you e-mails with important service information such as planned outages and enhancements. Any links within these e-mails will only take you to product and service information pages and not to any page where you will be asked to log-in and provide personal information.

What should I do if I get a suspicious looking e-mail?

If in doubt, delete the e-mail without opening it. This caution should apply to all unexpected e-mails with links or attachments.

If you are suspicious of an e-mail that claims to come from HSBC, please forward it to We take these matters very seriously and will investigate the e-mail in question.

More information on phishing

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