21 Jul Top Signs You Received a Phishing Email
Phishing emails are sent out in their thousands every day, with hackers hoping that at least one gets through the net. There are many different forms of phishing emails, but they usually aim to get hold of one thing: your money. This might be through asking for your contact information, banking information, claiming you have won a prize and asking for a fee upfront – any number of tactics can be used, but they all end up with the same purpose; they want your hard earned cash!
Here are some top signs you’ve received a phishing email, and what to do about it:
It gets caught in your junk folder
Our email filters are much stronger these days, and you could find that the email is already marked as ‘suspicious’ and placed into the junk inbox. Some, however, do get through, so don’t only rely on your inbox filters to determine what is genuine and what is not.
There’s incorrect spelling or it doesn’t make sense
Many phishing emails are sent from abroad, where your first language might not be strong. You may notice mistakes in the language or sentence structure. The punctuation might also be all wrong.
You need to pay something
Most phishing emails will want your money in one way or another. If they are asking for you to pay something, you’d be right in thinking it could be suspicious. For instance, a recent scam from 2015 saw a group of hackers masquerading as Wonga by creating similar email and website designs to the payday loan website. They then contacted a plethora of random South African email accounts and phone numbers to advertise an incredible interest rate on an outlandishly large loan amount – but it needed a ‘pre-payment’ first, of course.
The response was quick with an anti-fraud hotline and worked with authorities to close the operation down. A spokesperson made this statement:
“Any successful online business gets targeted with these. People should of course be vigilant. If you’re ever unsure of an email, right-click on the link, copy the hyperlink into the browser and check the address.”
Which brings me to my next point that’s so important it’s worth its own title.
It contains a link, usually obscured with an anchor text
If the email wants you to click through to a link, this could be a sign of a phishing email. Hackers are becoming more sophisticated with copying branded websites like for like, so that when you click through to their ‘fake’ website, you wouldn’t question its validity. You are then convinced to put in your details, and then the hackers have what they want! Use the advice above to ‘review’ the actual website URL before clicking on it.
It seems too good to be true
An email saying you’ve won a pot of money, a holiday, or are due some inheritance, really sounds suspicious. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
The sender is unrecognized
Look at where the email has come from – is the email address genuine? Sometimes hackers will try and be clever and make the email address appear genuine by having the ‘company name’ within it. According to Global Sign says that it’s important to note that an attacker can spoof email addresses already in use, so even if the email appears to come from someone you’ve already emailed with, it is always good to be careful of links and attachments.
What to do
You should avoid opening any links or attachments if you’re unsure of an email. You can also report it to the company you believe the hackers are trying to pretend they are. Call the direct company number from their actual site, not any number you find in the email you were sent. Essentially, if you’re unsure – don’t even open it! Mark it as spam and delete it so your inbox filters know in future.