Can You Recognize a Phishing Scam?

With more people having mobile devices and access to the internet, phishing scams are becoming more popular to gain access to your details. This type of cybercrime happens far too often, and although a lot of people are aware of it, some still fall into the trap. 

Phishing scammers are always creating new ways to get information from people through email, so it’s important to be careful and aware when checking your email. Vigilance will prevent you from falling victim.

But how exactly do you catch a phishing email? Here are a few things to look for.

The website address isn’t correct.

Some phishing scams are very creative in the way they send you the email. Some will copy a company branding so that it looks the same as the legitimate organization. When you receive this email, you see it’s from a reputable company, click the link, and then fill in your details. At that point, the scam has worked. 

Before clicking on any links, hover over them to see the target address. If it isn’t the company’s official address, don’t click. This is usually a good indicator if the email is legit or not.

The sender’s address is misspelled.

Like above, when receiving an email, check that the sender’s address is correct. Sometimes they will brand the email but use a very similar domain name to trick you. For example, ‘PayPal’ and ‘PaypaI’ both look the same, but one is spelled using an L, the other a capital I. Scammers are very sneaky in mimicking well-known brands.

The email comes from a public domain.

If the email professes to come from a company but the domain ends in something public like @gmail.com, this is an instant red flag. All large, reputable companies will contact you with a business email address that uses their domain name.

If you are ever unsure if the message is legitimate, contact the company directly. They can tell you if the message was truly from them, and they can help you over the phone.

In contains an unexpected attachment.

If you receive an email from an unknown sender and it contains an attachment, chances are this is spam. Never open an attachment unless you know what it is and can be sure it’s not going to damage your computer. 

If you are unsure, you can always run a virus scan on the attachment before opening it. A typical attack at the moment is to send an invoice and pretend you haven’t paid it yet, making you click it to see what you owe.

The message is telling you it is urgent.

By making the email sound urgent, the idea is that you panic, click the link, and then the virus attacks you, or the scammers get your personal details. Nothing should be that urgent, and if it is, you would probably already know about it. If a company says it’s urgent, it’s always best to call them and find out why before acting.

By being cautious and following these guidelines, you’ll be able to protect your personal information from being stolen by phishing scammers. 

If you run a  business, phishing is even more risky, because your client information is at risk. It’s a good idea to share these tips guidelines with your employees too. Additionally, working with a Managed Service Provider can help you to have a solid cybersecurity system.

 

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.