We’ve all had phishing emails that are blatantly obvious; the one where a long-lost relative in another country has passed away, and their ‘solicitor’ is instructed to send you millions of dollars as soon as you’ve provided them with all your personal financial information. Or the one where you’ve won a thousand dollars. Or even the Nigerian prince who is really desperate to make you his beneficiary but can’t even spell your name right.
Those phishing emails are obvious to most people, but the truth is, many phishing emails are not so easy to spot. If you receive an email that looks and reads just like it’s come from your bank or even a trusted colleague, you might not think twice about clicking on the link in it -and voila! You’ve given your details to a hacker. So, what can you do to spot and prevent phishing emails?
Phishing Detection Software:
The easiest way to avoid getting duped by a phishing email is to install software to detect and prevent phishing emails. These programs work to warn you when an email could be a suspected scam, allowing you to take action to check it out and make sure that it is legitimate before you follow any of the actions in the email, or even open it at all.
If you have opened an email that is asking you to reply with sensitive information or click to log in to your account with a password, a quick visual inspection of the email and the links before you do anything is important. Scan the email for any typos or anything that just doesn’t look right, and double-check the senders’ email address – does it look official? Hover over the link; is it actually going to the legitimate website, or is it a random link that you’ve never seen before? These are also some very subtle signs that it’s actually a phishing email, and you should probably delete it.
Contact the Alleged Sender:
Hackers will often devise phishing emails that appear to come from a source that you trust in order to dupe you into giving away sensitive information. For example, you might get an email from your boss, telling you that they have forgotten the login to the customer portal – could you please be so kind as to remind them? But when you reply with the credentials, you’ve given a hacker access to customer data. If you get an email asking for sensitive information that appears to be from somebody you trust, it’s worth getting in touch with them by a phone call or text message to double-check that the email did indeed come from them.
Up Your Security:
A few minutes in your email app settings should be all that it takes to strengthen your account and send any suspected phishing emails straight to the spam folder where they belong. This will reduce your risk of opening any emails that could be malicious and help to keep your data safer.
Phishing emails are a common tactic for getting sensitive information, and sadly, they are not always obvious. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll soon be spotting phishing emails like a pro.