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How to Spot Phishing Emails

Last Updated: October 26, 2023

Phishing emails are a form of social engineering that uses trust as a tool to coerce people into giving out or revealing sensitive information in order to gain access to your passwords and/or credit card numbers. Phishing emails can be difficult to spot as they can appear to be sent from a trusted recipient. However, there are a few ways that you may hopefully avoid these types of situations. 

Email address does not look valid or legitimate - When you receive an email from an address that looks suspicious, to ensure the legitimacy of the email address you can check the header and expose the True Header in order to show you the real email address this correspondence came from. For more information on locating the True Header of your email, please refer to this article: Locating True Header in Email

The email has a lot of errors - These can be seen as many spelling errors, poor grammar, sentence structure, and unnecessary spacing between words. Emails from legitimate companies would not include these kinds of discrepancies. 

There are unexpected or unfamiliar attachments - Do not open attachments that you are not expecting. These attachments can include harmful viruses and malware to infect your computer. There can also be malicious links hidden within the email. Always make sure to hover over hyperlinked text to inspect the URL before clicking it.

Causes panic for urgency - These messages can seem as though it is urgent that you reply with the requested information. They may use fear tactics or lots of bolded and capital words to display the need for urgency. For example, you may receive an email that tells you that your account was compromised when in fact it was not. It is always good to double-check your account for yourself or reach out to the company if you are unsure of the validity of the email. 

Although an email may come from a company that you work with on a regular basis, if the email looks suspicious, don’t risk it. In the event that you find yourself experiencing Phishing emails, please continue to use proper email habits and begin with changing your email password.

More information on the subject: 

Tips to Avoid Email Phishing & Scams

Wired.com - How to Avoid Phishing Emails and Scams 

Phising.org - 10 Ways To Avoid Phishing Scams

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