Scam emails, also known as Phishing emails, is one of the more popular techniques used by hackers today. Phishing is a type of online scam where criminals impersonate legitimate organizations via email, text message, advertisement, or other means to steal sensitive information. Most times, criminals will ask for some sort of payment, information (example: passwords), or try to get you to download a file, so that they can gain backdoor access to your device.
How to Spot an Attack
The best way to avoid a phishing scam is to learn the different types of phishing attacks a user can experience. Hackers often have more success phishing employees because they spend most of their day clicking on links and downloading files for work. Here are a few examples of misleading information scammers use to entice users to interact with their emails:
Fake shipping or delivery notifications
Fake purchase confirmations & invoices
Requests for personal information
Promises of attractive rewards
Charity or gift card scams
Use of urgent or threatening language
There are many ways to spot a scam email, once you pay attention to a few key details
1) Who is sending the email? Is it someone you know? - If you don’t recognize the sender or the spelling looks funny, we strongly suggest that you verify (if possible) with someone you know, or delete the email
2) Fuzzy images or aggressive wording? - Criminals often use templates to mass distribute to its intended victims.
3) Threats! - Some of these scam emails try to trick the reader to perform an action or else something bad will happen.
4) Password tricks – Criminals will sometimes ask you to verify your account with a service that you may have. What they are secretly doing in the background, is capturing your username and password.
5) Attachments and website links – Depending on the criminal’s objective, some emails will contain a malicious attachment or website link. Attachments will most times contain some sort of virus to infect your computer, while links will take you to malicious website to steal your information.
What to do to protect yourself against Phishing?
If you’re unsure of an email, make sure to look out for the key points mentioned before, especially if you have access to sensitive data or money. It’s also recommended to keep your computer software up to date, use strong passwords, and make sure to inspect your emails before clicking.
Some of the largest organizations have implemented training sessions for their employees to understand the seriousness of phishing and other attacks. You can provide all the training possible, unless you look out for these key points, you too can be victim of a phishing attack.