Quickly spot a phishing email with these tips and tricks!
What is a phishing email? The most common online threat, a cyber criminal attempts to trick you by creating and sending fake emails, that appear to be authentic, in order to infect your computer with a virus or malware and to capture your credentials.
Quickly spot a phishing email by looking out for these tell-tale signs:
- Is the email asking for sensitive information? Legitimate companies do not request passwords, credit card information, credit scores, etc., via emails. Chances are if you get an email asking for any of this information, especially when it’s unsolicited, it’s a scam.
- Is the email addressing you by your name? If the email addresses you as ‘valued member’, ‘account member’, ‘customer’, it’s probably a phishing email. Legitimate companies have your information and will address you by your name.
- Double check the domain name! Check the email address by hovering your mouse over the ‘from’ address and go through letter by letter, number by number, to make sure there were no alterations. Also, look for public email domain names… no legitimate company is going to contact you via a ‘@gmail.com’.
- How’s the grammar? An email received by a legitimate company will be well written. If there are multiple misspellings and grammatical errors, then it’s most likely a phishing email.
- Be wary of links! Always hover over the link with your mouse to see the website before you click the link. Also as a heads up, some cyber criminals will create phishing emails that are coded entirely as a hyperlink – be careful not to click!
- Is there an attachment? If you receive an unsolicited email with an attachment, be wary as it could contain a virus or malware. Be on the lookout for high risk file types including: .exe, .com, .scr, and .zip. If you have even the slightest inkling something is off, contact that company via phone to confirm legitimacy.
- Is there a sense of urgency? Many cyber criminals will ask you to ‘act now or else’ hoping you’ll click on the link or download the attachment without checking for the legitimacy of the email. This is especially effective in the workplace.
October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month!
“Held every October, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) is a collaborative effort between government and industry to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and to ensure that all Americans have the resources they need to be safer and more secure online,” according to Homeland Security.
“NCSAM 2019 will emphasize personal accountability and stress the importance of taking proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity at home and in the workplace. This year’s overarching message – Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT. – will focus on key areas including citizen privacy, consumer devices, and ecommerce security.” Learn more about National Cybersecurity Awareness Month here on the Homeland Security website.
Every weekday in October, we’ll help spread Cybersecurity awareness by sharing an important online safety tip.