Phishing emails are cyber criminals’ most common weapons for stealing companies’ and individuals’ personal data. An estimated 3.4 billion spam emails are sent every day. The use of stolen credentials is the most common cause of data breaches. Google blocks around 100 million phishing emails daily. Over 48% of emails sent in 2022 were spam.
What is a Phishing Email?
Criminals send emails that appear to come from a reputable person or company to deceive individuals into revealing sensitive information, such as login credentials, credit card numbers, or social security numbers.
These attacks may contain malicious links or attachments masquerading as legitimate correspondence and are responsible for some of the most notable data breaches ever.
Unfortunately, their attacks constantly evolve, making it hard for experts and researchers to warn people about what to look for. As a result, almost half of all phishing emails are opened. In this blog, we share five clues to help you spot scam emails.
How to Spot a Phishing Email?
1. Suspicious email address
Cybercriminals put a lot of effort into making it seem like the email is genuine. Unless they have compromised a company’s email system (which is very rare), they will use a different domain or other tricks.
Look at the sender’s email address by hovering over the address. You may see a public email domain, such as Gmail, where the message comes from an address that looks like, for example, ‘email@example.com’. This is a giveaway that you are being scammed. If a company or coworker emails you, they would do it from a company account – in this case, something like firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Strange or unexpected attachment
Look closely at any email containing an attachment because scammers often insert malware and other malicious code. If you anticipate the message and know the sender’s exact email address, you may not need to worry. But if the email is unsolicited, your internal alarm bell should ring. Also, look at the file type; if it is not a file type you typically use, e.g., .doc, .xls, .png, etc., do not open immediately. You can contact the sender via another channel to check its validity.
3. Sense of urgency
Scams often include messages telling you to act before it’s too late. Criminals do this to prompt you into action and avoid thinking about the inconsistencies or consequences of their request.
Scare tactics include messages about your account activity, undeliverable packages, or the need to reset your password. Another type of ploy is to pique your curiosity by claiming an offer is only available for a limited time.
These methods are so effective because it encourages victims to think irrationally. However, it would be best to remember that no matter how urgent an email appears, you always have time to give it a quick once-over and consider whether the request makes sense.
4. Links to an unfamiliar or misspelled address
In addition to bogus email domain names, cybercriminals use fake domain names in their links. If the destination of the URL does not match the context of the message, you should presume that the message is a scam. For example, if the email is from Netflix, the link should begin with ‘www.netflix.com/’. Sometimes scammers attempt to get around this by hiding their links in ‘click here’ buttons. You can hover your cursor over the button, and the URL will appear, allowing you to view the link address.
5. The email contains spelling or grammatical errors
You can often spot a phishing email simply by how it is written. Cybercriminals may not know English as their first language, so there may be spelling or grammatical errors you would not expect from a native speaker or legitimate business. That’s not to say that every email that contains a typo is a scam, but when combined with one or more of the other clues above, you can be reasonably confident that the sender is trying to scam you.
Catch up on your Cybersecurity
Phishing emails are just one of the many ways cybercriminals are trying to attack your business.
The world would be better without cyberattacks and criminals working to steal your data. But proactive measures are your only option for safety. Contact iTelecom for best-in-class cybersecurity solutions.