How to tell if an email is a scam
We’ve previously looked at ways to prevent getting hacked, but fake spam emails are still one of the major ways that scammers can fool us into parting with sensitive personal information or our hard earned money. With that in mind, it’s well worth making yourself aware of some of the key things to look for when an email lands in your inbox. We all need to remain vigilant about IT security and, armed with some basic information, you can get better at spotting which emails are suspicious.
1. Who is the email really from?
The sender’s address might initially appear to be connected to a business or organisation you trust, but take a closer look. It might include a business name you know like (as an example) ‘Aussie Bank’, but the email may be something strange like [email protected] The sender’s email should not be a public account like Hotmail, Gmail or Yahoo. If the full email address doesn’t appear in the standard view, you should be able to click or hover on a button that will give you the full details.
2. Where is the link sending you?
Hackers use fake sites to steal your information and they sometimes look a lot like the real deal. Just like the email address tip above, check the full URL of any link you’re asked to follow and whether it matches the genuine website of the business or organisation it claims to be from. Obviously, you should never enter your information on a site you suspect might be a fake.
On a computer, hover your mouse over the link to see a preview of the full URL. It might be something like www.banking-aussie.com, but if the website for that bank is actually www.aussiebank.com then alarm bells should be ringing. On a mobile device, you can also use a link preview to see the actual URL before you click.
3. Do they know you?
If an email looks like it’s from business you have a relationship with, you should expect them to address you by name, not as ‘Dear valued customer’ or something similarly generic.
4. What information do they want?
Legitimate emails from banks or other organisations won’t ask for your PINs or card information. Be very suspicious of emails requesting any sensitive information.
5. Hows they’re speling and grammer?
Obvious bad spelling and grammatical errors (like those above!) are another sign that an email isn’t from a legitimate business, who are very careful about checking that kind of thing in their communications with customers.
6. Do the images look unprofessional?
Low resolution graphics and poor image quality are another tip off. It could mean that the company logo in an email has simply been copied and pasted from a low quality source.
7. If in doubt, DELETE
If there’s any question in your mind at all, don’t click that link and delete the email. If you think it might be genuine and you’re worried about losing important information you can always take a screenshot first. You can also contact the business or organisation directly by phone to explain you’ve received an email you weren’t sure about and check whether you need to take any action.
MSP Blueshift are able to install security filters to your work computers to ensure you stay spam-free!