What to do when faced with a suspicious email?
Hackers are getting creative to get access to our private data. They know it’s valuable and they are eager to exploit it. This is seen in the global rise of identity theft and Ransomware cases. No one’s data is immune.
Ingenuity and diversification in methods of snooping ones private data has advanced faster than we adapted to using the web. It is time to learn where dangers lurk and exercise due diligence if you are to keep your data out of harm’s way.
Let’s begin by going over one of the most popular data extraction techniques – phishing emails. Every year statistics show an alarming rate at which this tactic is continuing to trap people into revealing their personal data.
What is a phishing email?
An email that employs various tactics to trick you into clicking on a malicious link, or revealing your personal information. You’d think over time, less people would fall victim to this cyber crime, but ‘phishing tactic’ is relentless and catches more people off guard one would expect. But alas, many of us notice something is off too late, where realization sets in after too much info has already been divulged.
How to avoid and spot them?
1. Don’t rely on spam filters alone. Most email providers managed to block users who send phishing emails by just sending them to the spam folder, but then there several cleverly crafter alternatives that might penetrate this protection.
2. Check: Whose name is on the email address? First of all, you should flag a suspicious email just by looking at the name of the email address. Typically we have a list of contacts we expect to receive an email from once in a while. So if you see that Johnny Depp or David Hasselhoff is emailing you – chances are the email might be a click-bait. If you don’t trust the name on the email address, then don’t go any further. For clarity, email the person you doubt has send you something with a suspicious headline – to verify if indeed they sent it, or was their mailbox compromised to send fake emails.
3. Ask yourself: Do I need to click the link? If by any chance curiosity got the better of you and you decide to open the email, beware that clicking on the links in the email might infect your internet enabled device with malware. A lot has changed from the first malware examples when you’d get an email from a Nigerian prince, who has money stored in a bank but can’t access it because he needs $20,000 to activate his account… fact checking that there is no such thing as a Nigerian prince saved people from falling pray to scammers. Nowadays phishing emails are more elaborate with each passing day. Some pretending to be from your tax refund service, others from your friends. Just remember to be wary of the links – they could lead to look’a’like websites and mislead you to enter your personal details, or download a virus or hold your computer for ransom.
4. Are there spelling mistakes in the email? Brands that send emails to their customers focus on the details and triple check for errors. Cyber criminals in their haste to steal often neglect these things. If there are spelling mistakes in the email, then it’s a good reason to doubt its authenticity. Stop and don’t go any further
5. Who is the email addressed to? Companies that ask for more of your personal details typically address you by full name. If an email has an odd or incomplete information in addressing you, then there is a reason to get suspicious.
6. Double check the product being advertised
If by any chance a link seems to excite you and you are curious as to what is on the other side, you should search the net for the deal you are being offered. If the deal is too good to be true, its almost certainly a scam. Ticket giveaways, expensive trips.. all should be verified.
If you have any examples to share with the rest of the community – let us know in the comments section below. Thank you!