If you use email, it’s likely you have come across a scam attempting to trick you into giving them important personal information such as your social security number, passwords, or credit card numbers. At first glance these emails seem trustworthy and sent from what looks like a website you frequently visit or a mailing list you’re subscribed to. When you’re quickly skimming through emails, it’s easy to miss the small tell-tale signs of this trap, known as a phishing scam. Although these hackers are crafty, there are several things to look for to make sure you don’t take the bait.
Check for Spelling and Grammar
Emails sent from legitimate companies are usually well edited and do not contain grammatical or spelling errors. If the email you received contains typos or flaws, you can safely bet it is not from an authentic source.
Don’t Enter Your Information
The most common type of email phishing involves an email with an urgent message encouraging the user to take action by signing in to their account or entering other personal information via the link in the email. This link will not land you on the official website; it goes to a fake website made to look exactly like the real thing. When the user enters their information, the phisher receives it and will then use it for their illegal activities. This ties in to the next tip:
Check the URL
Always check the URL linked in the email. The URL may look authentic in the email, but when clicked it takes you to the forged site created by the scammer instead. If you hover your cursor above the button or link in the email, you will be able to see the address it intends to take you to.
Who is the actual sender?
Phishing scams can make their email addresses appear to say whatever they want, such as ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’. But if you hover your cursor over the address, it will reveal what the sender’s actual address is. If the URL in the address is not an official URL of the company that is supposedly contacting you, you can assume the email is not authentic. Also pay close attention to the logo on the email. If it looks slightly different than normal or is pixilated, best bet it is not legitimate.
Safeguarding your information requires attentiveness and with this guide you can feel confident that you won’t fall victim to phishing scams.