Email spam and scams

Spam emails are randomly sent to email addresses purporting to come from an organisation or individual and they might claim to contain urgent news, confirmation of a non-existent order, which charges will be made to a credit card, or any excuse to encourage the recipient to click on a link and visit a spoofed web site.

Visiting the web page with an unprotected computer and web browser allows the attacker to run malicious code on your PC, usually installing a trojan or keylogger. Should this happen, the attacker can gain full remote access to your PC, which then allows them to steal usernames, passwords, other personal information and to control the computer for other purposes such as sending more spam emails and installing other malicious software.

Remember, Cigna will never ask for any password or security questions by email. Nor would we send you a link other than through our secure email system.


Fraudsters are using software called Trojans that lodge themselves deep inside our computers. Trojans are emails that look innocent, but may contain links or attachments that can install harmful programs on to your computer when you click on them.

These programs are usually downloaded invisibly when you open an e-mail that looks innocent. Even if the e-mail is discarded, the program will still run in the background.

How do trojans work?

Trojans are designed to do things like keystroke logging. They take screen shots of sites you visit or search your computer for personal information. The program then sends your personal information to someone else. It could enable fraudsters to get hold of your personal information without your knowledge or permission.


Phishing scams are on the increase. Not all emails are always what they seem.

You may receive emails or be directed to websites that ask you to enter your personal information. The aim of many of these email scams is to take you to websites that may look like a site you may regularly use but are in fact 'spoof' web sites. When you click on a link or enter your personal details, the information is sent to someone other than your bank or other service providers. You thought you were safe, but someone else now has access to your information and accounts.

Don't be caught out. Cigna may send you an email from time to time but would never ask you to confirm your security details or internet banking details through an email or website. As a quick check to see if an email is genuine, we will always greet you personally – we know your name, detail a fraudster is unlikely to know.

If you receive an email asking for your personal information do not click on any link or reply with any details – send it to us at and delete it from your inbox.

Obtain a free credit report

A free credit report can be obtained from Experian should you have any concerns that a third party may have elicited information from you.

Should you obtain a credit report, review it carefully, looking for accounts you did not open, or enquiries from creditors that you did not initiate. Additionally, look for personal information that is not accurate, such as your home address, or maybe your National Insurance Number. If you see anything you don't understand, call the credit agency at the telephone number on the report.

If you do find suspicious activity on your credit report, call your local police and file a report of identity theft. Get a copy of the police report. You may need to give copies of the police report to creditors to clear up your records.

If you believe information about you has been misused we recommend you set a fraud alert in your credit file. This alerts creditors to contact you before new accounts are opened.

PO Box 9000
NG80 7WP

Credit File Advice Centre
PO Box 1140

Call Credit
Consumer Services Team
PO Box 491

Glossary of terms

Anti-virus software
Anti-virus software can detect and delete viruses that attempt to get on to your computer. Anti-virus software is only as effective as the last update so you must keep it up to date and download the latest anti-virus software and signatures regularly from your supplier. Anti-virus software can help to protect your computer from the latest viruses. There are several providers in the marketplace for you to choose from.

A cookie is information that a website places on your hard disk so that it can remember something about you at a later time. Typically, a cookie records your preferences when using a particular site. Most browsers automatically accept cookies. You can set your browser options so that you will not receive cookies and you can also delete existing cookies from your browser. You may find that some websites will not function properly if you refuse cookies.

Encryption is the conversion of data into a coded form that cannot be understood by unauthorised people. Decryption is the process of converting coded data back into its original form, so it can be understood by an authorised person or company.

A firewall is a piece of software or hardware that provides a barrier between your computer and the Internet. A firewall will prevent intruders or "hackers" from gaining access to your computer and should be updated regularly. Firewall software can help to protect your computer. There are several providers in the marketplace for you to choose from. The Get Safe Online website contains articles and actions that can be taken to ensure safe use of the internet.

A hacker is a person who uses a computer to break into other computer systems in order to steal, change or destroy information.

Identity theft
Identity theft is when someone else steals your personal information without your knowledge. They may then use your details to commit fraud. For more information on Identity theft visit

A keylogger program is a virus that can record the keys pressed on your keyboard while you are using your computer. Anti-virus software can help protect your computer from the latest keylogging programs.

'Patches' or security updates
'Patches', or security updates, are issued by software manufacturers when security vulnerabilities are found in their software. Patches are to fix vulnerabilities. You can download them through the internet and we recommended that you keep your computer safe by regularly applying any security patches.

'Pharming' is when a fraudster, a 'Pharmer' in this case, creates false websites in the hope that people will visit their websites by mistake. Sometimes you may visit false websites through mistyping a website address, or occasionally a fraudster will try to attack a website and redirect its internet traffic to their own websites. The 'Pharmer' will then try to obtain your personal details when you enter them into a false website. Such websites may look very realistic, but subtle differences between them and the real thing can be seen. Always make sure the website is secure – look for a closed padlock symbol in the browser window and 'https' in the browser address bar.

Phishing scams are emails that may appear to be real, but they ask you to enter personal information or they have links to websites that may look like ones you may use but are in fact 'spoof' websites. When you click on a link or enter your personal details, the information is sent to someone other than your bank or other service providers.

Secure Socket Layer (SSL)
Many websites use the SSL method of coding to ensure customer information is kept secure – it makes the communication between a web browser and a web server private. Generally, SSL works automatically when you access a secure website. You can tell if you're accessing a secure website by checking the address bar along the top of your screen to ensure the address begins with 'https'. If you are using Internet Explorer, you should see an icon that looks like a closed padlock at the bottom right-hand side of your screen. This padlock indicates a secure connection.

Shoulder surfing
Shoulder surfing is a term used for anyone observing what you are doing on a computer. Beware of anyone standing or sitting closely behind you who may try to watch you when you enter personal details.

Site certificate
Site certificates are an essential part of providing reassurance that a site you are visiting is genuine. A site certificate indicates a secure connection has been established and secure communication can take place.

Spam is unsolicited and unwanted email.

A virus is a computer programme that can embed itself into other programs on your computer, and may cause damage to your files. Email is a common way to spread viruses, and opening an attachment or link in an unknown email can trigger the spread of the virus onto your computer.

A worm is a harmful programme that travels across a network of computers. It may cause damage to the computers on the network and affect computer performance.

Links to other resources