Phishing emails are a type of internet scam that trick victims into sharing personal information, such as passwords or account numbers. People fall for these scams because they are led to believe they are communicating with a trusted company.
Over the years, these schemes have become more sophisticated, but there are still some telltale signs to watch for!
Spoofing an Email Address
Most internet users have become wise enough to avoid odd requests coming from unrecognized email addresses. So, con artists have stepped up their game. One trick scammers use is taking on email addresses from companies that look legitimate or that you are likely to do business with, such as firstname.lastname@example.org. In reality, these email addresses redirect to a random address like email@example.com. Always review the email address to verify if it looks suspicious.
The content in phishing emails is intended to make the recipient act quickly. The language in these emails often threatens repercussions if immediate action isn’t taken. Sometimes the sender will even pose as a government or company authority figure. If you receive a pressuring email with a time-sensitive request, verify the sender via another means (outside of email) before taking any action.
Links are Deceiving
Links are often included within a phishing email. Nowadays, scammers use deceptive links to fool users into clicking. These links appear to direct you to a trusted webpage when in reality they lead you to a harmful site. For example, the hyperlinked text in the email may read “Go to Account,” but the actual link is a domain you do not recognize. Before clicking on any links within an email, hover over the hyperlinked text to see if you recognize and trust the domain.
Links as Attachments
To bypass email security filters, some hackers disguise their phishing links as attachments. Be cautious before you open any attachments! If you receive a suspicious email, do not open the attachment until you have verified the email’s source.
The tips above are meant to help you identify a phishing scam before you become a victim. However, if you do accidentally click a suspicious link or open an attachment from an unconfirmed source, change your password immediately using the greatest variety of characters allowed.
If you manage to spot a phishing scam in your inbox, warn your email provider by marking the email as “phishing” or “spam,” which should automatically delete the email and block the sender from sending future emails.
Stay safe. Avoid being hooked by a phishing email!