As phishing attacks reach an all time high, it’s more important than ever to be cautious when reading and responding to emails. Cybercriminals are getting smarter with their tactics making it even harder to differentiate real emails from scams. So how do you spot phishing emails? Keep reading to find out before it’s too late!
1. Incorrect Spelling and Grammar
Perhaps the easiest way to spot a scam email is to look for misspelled words and poor grammar. You may think cybercriminals don’t know how to write in proper English, but the reason for their grammatical errors is actually strategic. Spam filters are actually more likely to let imperfect emails pass through as they appear more authentic.
2. Requesting Immediate Action
Another way to spot a phishing email is if the sender is requesting urgent action from the recipient. Scammers want to rush recipients into taking action quickly, not taking the time to carefully read over the email.
3. Suspicious Greetings
Many scam emails begin with suspicious greetings such as “Dear” or include other phrases that aren’t typically used in normal conversations. If anything in an email appears abnormal, it’s better to be safe than sorry when replying or clicking any links.
4. Strange File Attachments
Phishing emails will also include strangle file attachments that you should not open. These files are typically in these malware-associated formats: .zip, .exe, .scr, .pdf, and more.
A big red flag that points to scam emails is any irregularity when it comes to email addresses, domain names, or links of any kind. Here are some things to look for:
- Mismatching names/company names
- Alleged company email address ending in @gmail.com
- Misspelled company name/domain name
- Compare email to a previous email from the said company, if you can, to see if there are any inconsistencies
6. Asking for Personal Information
The main purpose of a phishing email is to gather some type of information from you. Whether that be an answer to a security question, your payment information, or account login credentials, the scammer is after something from you. They can even create an account login page that looks so similar to the original that you may not notice the difference. That’s why it’s so important to never give out any personal information, especially bank account or credit card numbers, over email. If you are working with an individual or business and they request payment information, make sure you give them this over the phone if possible.
What to do if you spot a phishing email?
If you spot a scam email, report it as soon as you can to firstname.lastname@example.org, Anti-Phishing Working Group. After you’ve done this, please reach out to our team at Warsaw Area Computer Doctors so we can make sure your accounts and computers are secure.
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