Email phishing, the practice of scamming users with a fake email in order to obtain private or secure information, is not always caught by your provider’s spam folder. Each year, attackers improve at avoiding the various firewalls and safety nets that are meant to prevent them from achieving their malicious goals. You can no longer rely solely on email providers to do the work for you. It’s important to be vigilant about the various hints that suggest an email may be from a false source.
Here are 4 signs for recognizing an email scam:
1. Poor spelling or grammar.
Reputable companies always do their due diligence when it comes to hiring employees. Spelling and grammar standards are high, especially for the individuals that write their content or deal in customer service. Any legitimate email from a reputable company will be flawlessly edited. Of course, human error is always a possibility, but if mistakes are frequent or flagrant the sender most likely is not who he says he is.
2. Asking for money or personal information.
Any company you hold an account with knows your personal information and will not solicit this (or monetary compensation) from you via email. Sometimes attackers will pretend to be someone you know, like a family member needing money for an emergency or a friend sending a funny attachment that actually contains ransomware. Ransomware can hold your entire computer hostage, so without a data recovery program like Acronis True Image or DDI Utilities you will be unable to regain access to any of your files. Never give out this information or click on anything that you are unsure of without contacting the sender directly through another method. If it’s your bank, call the customer service line to verify. If it’s your family member, call them first to ensure they are the one who sent you the message.
3. Irrelevant email address.
The email address of the sender is another clue to the validity of an email source, but an often overlooked one. Be sure to check that the address is relevant to the company. For example, an email from an employee at Microsoft will have an address of email@example.com. If the address is something irrelevant like firstname.lastname@example.org, it will definitely not be from someone at that company.
4. Unsolicited and unfamiliar contact.
If you ever get an email that makes you think, “Hm, I can’t remember registering for this” do not ignore that feeling! This is a common first sign for an email scam that many users brush aside. If you don’t remember signing up for it, you probably didn’t, and you should use that feeling to prompt you to be alert for other signs of phishing. It is rare for a company to make first contact with a user. It’s even rarer for said company to link to an external site asking you to download something or provide personal information, so beware of this!
Thousands of people every day lose personal data from their computers by falling prey to these vicious scams. Check out some reviews for data recovery software to find a program that will help protect your files in case your “scammy senses” fail to tingle.
Good luck and stay vigilant!
Related post: 5 Types of Digital Threats To Beware Of And How To Prevent Them