Do you remember a time when checking your emails wasn’t filled with that sense of dread? Checking emails has become a modern version of MineSweeper, every click we make could have a disastrous outcome. This is because of phishing, a common type of “spam” email that’s goal is to get you to click on a link. Once you click on the link you could download a virus, spread malware, or a host of other problems. Your identity and private information are at risk. So how can you identify phishing? Learning how to recognize common tricks spammers use is the first step to protecting yourself.
Here is an example of an email one of our employees received this week.
Step 1: Start from the top
When scanning the suspicious email it is always important to start from the top and work your way down. The email may look credible especially because the company’s name is used. The subject is designed to make the viewer feel alarmed or curious.
Step 2: Pay attention to the links and fine print
At first glance this email looks legitimate; the well-known brand, logo, and professional sounding text. However, a second look can prove to be much more important. The first phishing tactic is to shock you into action. Here the email says the total due is more than $1600. This is designed to make people panic and click on the link. If you hover over the link you will see that it is actually a faulty link that will redirect you to a fake site that may contain viruses or allow access to your private information.
Step 3: Read the fine print at the bottom
The fine print at the bottom is the spammer’s final way of getting you to click on the link. If you use the tips mentioned in step two you will notice that these links are also faulty.
What’s the best way to avoid dangerous phishing? Don’t click on links in the email but instead go straight to the phone company’s web site and log in yourself. Or call the company and ask them to verify the email.
Follow these easy steps to outsmart the spammer and train yourself to quickly spot dangers in the future!