Identifying And Avoiding Phishing Scams

Every day there are said to be some 205 billion emails sent worldwide. While this staggering number does encompass emails containing valuable information or correspondence, it also includes a significant number of spam emails. Receiving spam emails can expose your organization to a variety of risks. Education of your employees is one of the most crucial parts of your business’ cybersecurity plan. We have five recommendations that you can start using today to make identifying phishing scams easy.

1. Improper Spelling or Grammar

One of the most common ways to tell if the email you received is a phishing scam is to read carefully for improper spelling or grammar. Legitimate organizations would have staff who meticulously edit emails before sending them out to potential clients. Imagine if Amazon sent out an email with the subject line “Dear Valued Costomer” instead of “Dear Valued Customer.” It’s extremely unlikely this would happen. Improper spelling or typos in an email are a surefire way to recognize a phishing scam.

2. You Won a Contest You Never Entered

Sorry to disappoint you, but if you didn’t enter a contest for a trip to Fiji – the email you received about winning a trip to Fiji is probably a phishing scam. These types of emails will include a link to click to enter your personal information.

3. The Email Requests Personal Information

This is another easily recognizable sign that you’ve received a phishing scam. Reputable companies will never ask you for personal information via email. When in doubt, always call the company in question and double check that the email you received is legitimate. You should always err on the side of caution when it comes to giving out personal information.

4. Emails with a Sense of Urgency

Phishing emails will oftentimes attempt to trick you into clicking a link by claiming that, for example, your bank account has been closed or a hold has been applied to your credit card. While your bank may send you emails alerting you of account activity it’s again always best to err on the side of caution. Instead of clicking the link within the email, visit that company’s website directly to login to your account.

5. The Hyperlinked URL is Different from the One Displayed

More often than not a phishing email will include a bogus link. While the hypertext in an email might appear to be legitimate, always hover your mouse over the link and examine the URL carefully. Most email software platforms will display a small popup window that shows the true link.

A general rule of thumb for staying safe online? Never give out your personal information via email. If you receive an email requesting personal information or account information – proceed with caution. When in doubt always call the company in question to verify that they emailed you.

For more information about safeguarding your personal information online contact us: