Can you spot a scam email?

Posted on: May 7th, 2019

Phishing emails are one of the most common online scams out there, with countless emails sent each day. Cybercriminals send these emails in the attempt to trick the recipient into clicking a malicious link, downloading attachments with viruses, or sending personal information, such as passwords or bank account details.

The emails will impersonate well-known brands or people you know, such as colleagues. Attacks have been increasing recently specifically targeting businesses in the attempt to trick employees into transferring funds or sharing sensitive information by impersonating senior executives. Phishing emails are becoming increasingly sophisticated, with 48% of phishing emails being opened by recipients in 2017, an increase of 12% over 2016, according to Keepnet Labs.

While phishing emails are becoming more difficult to detect, when you know what to look for, it can be straightforward to identify a phishing email. Here are five ways to spot a phishing attack.

1. Check the email address

The first thing you should check is the sender’s email address. It will often be sent from a public email address, such as gmail.com, and will have random letters or numbers. This is a tell-tale sign that the person is not who they say they are, as your bank or a colleague will send any emails from a company email account. You also need to check any links included in the body of the email. Be sure to hover over and inspect each link before clicking to verify they are linking to the legitimate website.

2. Check the spelling and grammar

It is often easy to detect a phishing email by the way it’s written. Chances are the writing style will be different from that usually used by the sender they are impersonating and will likely have poor grammar and many spelling errors. Also take note of the introduction, as they are often informal and will not refer to you by name.

3. The email asks for personal information

Even if the email looks legitimate, it is highly unlikely that companies would ask for your personal information via email. Reputable companies will never ask for account numbers, passwords, credit card numbers, or security questions through email, especially if you did not initiate the action. Furthermore, they will not ask you to cover expenses, taxes or fees either.

4. The message uses fear tactics

Many scam emails will use fear tactics to create a sense of urgency and scare people into sending their information. For example, they might say update required immediately”, “your account has been compromised” or “your account will be closed” to take advantage of your concerns.

5. The offer appears too good to be true

If it seems to good to be true, it probably is. If you receive an email making big promises, saying you’ve won the lottery or inherited money, it’s best to just delete it.

If you receive any emails that don’t look right and ask for any personal information, you can get in contact with the company directly to notify them. They will be able to clarify any concerns you may have.

If you’re concerned about your businesses security, contact onPlatinum today to organise a complimentary IT audit.


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