There is more cyber crime than ever before being committed on a global scale. There are multitudes of highly organised groups who operate from overseas who make a living from taking money from people through malware and phishing email scams. While most of us may be familiar with the Nigerian prince scam or money from a supposedly long lost relative overseas, the scammers have gotten better and more sophisticated. They have kept up with technology and we have to adapt.
How Does Phishing Work?
A phishing email is an email that has been sent from a criminal source in the hopes of stealing passwords, credit card information, bank information, personal information, or login details to a service such as PayPal. The problem is that many people simply don’t know how to spot them and fall victim to them.
How Can You Avoid Phishing Emails?
If you’re not sure how you can avoid falling victim to phishing emails, here are some things to be on the lookout for:
- Spelling: One of the biggest giveaways is when an email from a supposedly official and trusted source reads poorly. The grammar and spelling may be suspect and it may read as if it has not even been edited. Official and trusted sources are usually always grammatically correct and use a tone that is recognisable. If an email appears in your inbox, purportedly from a trusted company, and it reads badly or contains errors, you should delete it right away. It’s most likely a fake phishing email from an untrusted source.
- It asks for information: In most cases, one thing that you can be sure of is that trusted companies will not ask you for your personal information, login, or credit card details. If you find that an email is asking you to forward any of your personal information, including any user logins, do not do so.
- Fake sender: Organised phishers know that people will look out for fake email addresses in the header, and this is why they have become quite clever at hiding who they really are. Sometimes, you’ll even find that the email looks to have come from your own account. The first thing you should do is check the sender. The email may look official, but often it is through a free email service or in an unfamiliar format. If you check the email header information you may also find that the sender email is from another country.
- An urgent situation: We’re all prey to our fears at times and organised phishing groups know this all too well. Phishing emails will usually declare that there is some emergency where they need your login or personal details to fix the issue. Once again, official and trusted companies don’t normally act in this way.
- Bad links: Phishing emails will also often contain links that lead to malware or servers where your information can be logged or stolen. If you see a link in the email, simply hover over it without clicking on it to check where it leads. If it leads somewhere you don’t recognise or trust, delete the email right away.
Stay Safe Online
You can read up on how to spot a phishing email at certain online services and download protection for your email that will act as an interceptor before you even have a chance to be scammed.