How to Spot a Phishing Message

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Phishing emails are still the most prevalent risks to the average computer user. The goal of a phishing email is to gain information about you, steal money from you, or install malware on your device(s). Phishing is also one of the most used ways to install ransomware, a cyber threat that is on the rise. So, what are some tell-tale signs of a phishing message? The following list includes some tips for spotting a phishing message.

  • Be suspicious of ALL unexpected emails.
  • Don’t trust the name or email address of the sender in the email. These can be spoofed.
  • Verify links in a message before clicking them. Hover over a link to see where it will take you. Better, don’t click on links at all; enter known good URLs in your browser software.
  • Check for spelling/grammatical errors. Many phishing messages have poor spelling and grammar; however, phishing messages are getting more sophisticated!
  • Look at the greeting. Is it general or vague?
  • Is the email asking for personal information? Legitimate organizations will not request personal information via email.
  • Is the email urgent? Phishing messages tend to elicit a sense of urgency.
  • Check the email signature. While this can be forged, most legitimate senders will include a full signature with contact information.
  • Be leery of attachments. If an unsolicited email requests you to open an attachment or download a file, contact the sender directly (not via email) and verify the message.

Remember…you may be one click away from divulging sensitive information or compromising your systems and data. Stop! Think! Connect!