Beware of Email Scammers Impersonating the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF)

We are aware of a recent trend where scammers send out convincing emails claiming to be from the IWF informing people that they have been identified as putting illegal content online and telling them to take action or report this material. Links are often included to email addresses or websites in an effort to defraud, scam, blackmail or capture user information.

These emails are not from the Internet Watch Foundation. IWF does not send unsolicited emails urging individuals to take action on criminal online content.

We do not recommend responding to these emails or clicking any links.

We do recommend reporting the email to the government’s National Cyber Security Centre by forwarding the email to [email protected] - more information here. You can also mark the email as spam/junk in your email app which will block emails from this address in the future and alert your email provider.

Emails from the IWF will only ever come from an email address.



Spotting the Signs of Scam Emails

We want to empower the public to protect themselves from falling victim to email scams. One crucial point to reiterate is that the IWF does not send unsolicited emails urging individuals to act on illegal online content. If you receive an email claiming to be from the IWF, asserting that you must immediately act on such content, it's a clear sign of a scam. The IWF's primary focus is on reporting and removing illegal online material, not pressuring individuals through unsolicited emails.

Spotting the Genuine IWF Correspondence

Genuine communications from us will always originate from our official email addresses. This means that any emails you receive from IWF staff members will come exclusively from this domain. If you ever doubt the legitimacy of an email from the IWF, cross-check the sender's email address to verify its authenticity. Stay cautious, and don't hesitate to reach out to the IWF directly through our official channels to verify any communication you receive.

Staying Safe Online: What You Can Do

  1. Verify Email Addresses: Always double-check the sender's email address. If it doesn't come from the domain, it's likely a scam.
  2. Ignore Urgent Requests: Scammers often create a sense of urgency to pressure victims into making hasty decisions. Take your time and scrutinise any unexpected requests.
  3. Non-UK-English Spelling: As a UK-based organisation, all of our communications are written in UK English. If you receive an email claiming to be from us that uses US English or other spelling formats, treat it with caution and assume it’s not from us – i.e. ‘organization’ instead of ‘organisation’.
  4. Never Share Sensitive Information: Legitimate organisations like the IWF will never ask for personal or financial information via email.
  5. Contact the IWF Directly: If you're uncertain about an email's legitimacy, contact the IWF through our official website to confirm its authenticity.
  6. Report Suspicious Activity: If you encounter a suspicious email claiming to be from the IWF, report it to the National Cyber Security Centre quickly and easily who will be able to investigate it. You can also send them emails that feel suspicious, even if you're not certain they're a scam - they can check.

The Internet Watch Foundation is committed to your online safety. By staying informed and cautious, you can outsmart scammers and contribute to a safer digital environment for all.

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