How to Spot a Phishing Scam
Email scams, also known as phishing scams, have been used as a way for cyber criminals to gain sensitive personal information since the mid 1990’s. Whilst some are so ridiculous in their presentation and content they are easily identified, others can be more convincing.
Within the business sector, hackers try to trick employees into clicking malware infected zip files and malicious links in emails that redirect to fake landing pages. These fraudulent emails may first appear to come from reputable companies or colleagues, but if you and your employees don’t know how to identify a phishing email, your business could be at risk.
Every employee needs to know how to spot a phishing email and play their part in avoiding the threat.
How to spot a Phishing Scam:
- The message contains a mismatched URL
If unsure, hover your mouse over the top of the URL and you should see the actual hyperlinked address. If the hyperlinked address is different from the address that is displayed, the message is probably fraudulent or malicious. Also look out for fake email addresses that imitate known brands such as [email protected]
- The message asks for personal information
No matter how official the message may look (including recognisable logos), if you are being asked for personal or sensitive information, with a sense of urgency, alarm bells should start to ring. A reputable company would never email you to ask for this kind of data.
- Poor Spelling and Grammar are used
The majority of professionals spellcheck and review important messages before sending out on behalf of their company. Poor spelling and grammar should always flag up a warning and whilst this is one of the more obvious ‘tells’, the tone of the email, if mismatched to the apparent sender, should also do this.
- Fear Tactics are employed
Fear tactics are often used to create a sense of panic or urgency and cause the user to make a hasty or impulsive decision, like clicking on an embedded hyperlink. Always stop and review, and if in doubt, ask a colleague for a second opinion.
There is currently a prevalence of phishing emails that ask the recipient to confirm their email address. This is a less challenging way for cyber criminals to gain access to a system since it is easier to ‘hack the human’ than to ‘hack the system.’ If you receive an email asking you to confirm your email address, your guard definitely should be up as it is probably a scam.
How to spot a Fake Landing Page:
- Incorrect website address – Fake landing pages often try to imitate a known brand or business by using a very similar domain name – look twice!
- Navigation panes and footers are often missing.
- If something just doesn’t seem right, at a first glance, there is probably something wrong!
We support many organisations from small local businesses up to large corporations who have experienced IT security issues.
Our team can look after your IT in a controlled and managed way, meaning you can focus on running your business and not worrying about technical headaches and security issues.
To talk to a member of the V12 Tech Team, just give us a call on 0330 445 0051 or email us on [email protected]