In a new phishing scam, criminals have changed their tune to trick victims by pretending to be 'friendly' strangers doing a good deed.

The scammer then convinces the victim to follow an email link by pretending to have been scammed themselves. 

The fraudster tells the victim that they are a ‘law abiding citizen’ who has been sent the recipient’s personal details in error.

A document is attached that the scammer claims contains said personal details.

They go on to warn that the details may be available to scammers and that they want to rectify the problem.

Of course, the link they provide contains malware which the victim downloads onto their computer, and the malware will try to obtain sensitive information like bank details in order to swipe the victim's money.

Action Fraud said it received 226 reports of this email in the last three days of March.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Fyfe of City of London Police said: “The sheer number of reports that we have received is concerning and reports continue to be made.

"We are warning the public to be vigilant and not click on links or attachments from unknown recipients or in unsolicited emails.”

[Read more: Santander text message scam: tips to stay safe and protect your bank account]

What else can I do?

Action Fraud recommends a few other measures to help you protect your details:

  • Be on the lookout for spoof email addresses that look genuine. Check the email domain (the last part of the email address). If it seems dodgy, don’t trust it;
  • Don’t enable macros in download – enabling the macro will allow the malware to be installed onto your device;
  • Always install system updates as soon as they become available as they often contain fixes for critical security vulnerabilities;
  • Create regular back-ups of your important files on an external hard drive, memory stick or online storage provider. If you’re backing up data onto a device, make sure it’s not left connected to your computer as the malware will spread to that too.

Remember to report any suspicious communications to Action Fraud.

More on scams and how to stay safe