Are you concerned about falling victim to an Email Phishing Scam? Read more to find out 7 ways to spot an Email Phishing Scam.
One of the most common tactics used by identity thieves is Phishing scams. Phishing scams not only affect individuals but large companies and organizations as well.
Have you ever been a victim of a Phishing Email Scam? Are you worried about becoming one?
Read more below to find out what a Phishing Scam is, the types of Email Phishing Scams being used, and 7 ways to spot an Email Phishing Scam in your inbox.
What is an Email Phishing Scam?
Phishing occurs when a cybercriminal uses fraudulent tactics to obtain your personal information.
They then use this information to commit fraud or even identity theft. These Phishing scams can come in the form of fake emails, fraudulent texts, copycat websites, and much more.
Hackers may also be using Phishing tactics to obtain access to your computer or internet network in order to install programs that will be harmful to you and your personal information.
Many people fall for Phishing email scams because the hacker creates a false sense of security or urgency in order to prey on their target.
Types of Email Phishing Scams
Email phishing scams come in a number of shapes and sizes. Some common phishing scams include:
During this Phishing tactic, the hacker targets specific individuals via email. In this approach, the hacker does extensive research on the person/organization they are targeting in order to make the scam more personalized and believable.
During this attack, hackers use fake links, attachments, and “malvertising,” advertising containing scripts that download malware and unwanted content onto your computer. In this hack, cybercriminals will restrict access to personal information until a ransom is paid. This recently happened to the City of Baltimore. Read more about it on our blog!
In this type of Phishing, the hacker will send include a link to a malicious website in the email. Once the link is clicked, the email’s receiver will be redirected to the hacker’s website instead of the website they thought they were going to.
Clone Phishing occurs when a hacker clones a previous piece of online communication to make it look identical. However, in this email, the hacker will attach malicious links or attachments in order to gain access to your information.
This email Phishing tactic specifically targets senior executives in a company or high-profile employees within a business. This email will be personalized for their role and often includes documents such as subpoenas, legal content, or customer complaints.
How to spot an Email Phishing Scam
Email Phishing scams may sound scary, but there are a number of precautions you can take to protect yourself. The biggest way to avoid falling for a phishing scam is to know the warning signs. Below are 7 ways to spot an email phishing scam tactic.
Emails from Unknown Senders
Before trusting any email you open, make sure that you recognize the sender. This isn’t always a perfect way of telling if the email has been faked or not, but this base check will act as a way to weave out potential Phishing emails.
Even if you recognize the person name, confirm that the email address that the email is coming from belongs to them. Hackers will often spoof real emails or create emails that are similar to the real person’s email in order to get you to give up your personal information.
Bad Grammar and Typos
Any reputable company or business would not allow emails with bad grammar or spelling errors to go out. If there are numerous, jarring mistakes in the email, it is best to send it to your trash.
It is also important to be wary of how the email is addressed. Often times, emails using generic greetings such as “Dear Customer,” “Dear Member,” or they may use of your full email address such as “Dear JohnDoe@ABC.com
Asking for personal information
The main goal of any Phishing scam is to obtain your personal information. In Phishing emails, the hacker will often get you to input your information by requesting for you to “update” or “verify” the information for their system.
No company is going to ask for your personal information via email. If you receive an email asking for you to “verify” any login credentials, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, or other personal information, it is most likely a scam and should be deleted immediately.
The use of urgency words or warning of an account threat
Hackers will take advantage of your anxiety about being hacked to gain access to your information. Emails containing urgency words or warning words like “Urgent Action Requested!” or “Your Account Has Been Closed!” are most likely scam emails
If you ever receive an email like this and you are suspicious, it is best to call the business that is emailing you in order to confirm the issue before you give out your personal information.
Unrecognized links or attachments
Often, hackers will include fraudulent links or attachments in a Phishing email in order to obtain your information.
One tip to know to avoid clicking on potentially harmful things is to hover over the link to reveal the hyperlink. The hyperlink is the full website that the embedded link is leading you to. If the hyperlink looks shady, do not click it.
Another helpful tip is to educate yourself on DNS, or Domain Name System. DNS structure is what you see within a website’s URL. Typically the structure will appear like this – Subtopic.Full Domain.com For example, docs.google.com is how a typical DNS will appear. A Phishing scam will likely have an unusual DNS structure with a malicious domain as the Full Domain name.
Providing a specific reward
Some Phishing tactics involve the hacker claiming that you have won a prize such as money, a trip, or a car. If you click on the link in this email, you will oftentimes be asked to pay the shipping or processing fee in order to receive your prize. This is a way for the hacker to gain access to personal information such as credit/debit card numbers, full names, and billing addresses. Hackers will then use this information for their own gain.
If you have not entered any lotteries, sweepstakes, or prize drawings and get this type of email, delete it immediately.
Logos or Company Information is Incorrect
If an email is from a sender claiming to be from a legitimate company, make sure all logos and company information provided in the email is correct. The smallest detail, like the company’s logo colors, maybe off meaning that the email was spoofed.
Another warning sign is that the email is impersonal and has a generic signature that does not mention a real name. For example, if an email is signed “Amazon Team” or “Comcast Billing Department,” the email may be a Phishing scam.
Want more information on how to protect yourself and your email? Check out our previous blog all about 9 Steps to Protecting Your Email.
What would you like to learn about next? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!