Phishing is a term used to describe when an unauthorized entity poses as a company and sends communication on their behalf. This is usually in order to gain access to customer data such as bank details, passwords, and personal information.
This is a type of scam that has been rife in the US and across the world for years; and sadly every year scammers are coming up with more convincing methods to gain our information and steal from us.
Today we want to talk about some of the most important warning signs that you are being phished to hopefully save you from falling foul to a scam.
Here are the four most important things to look at when receiving an email or communication that seems wrong.
1. Threats or an Overstated Sense of Urgency
When sending an email or a text message to you on behalf of a company, a phisher will have a sense of urgency to their tone and will likely threaten you if you don’t comply. They can threaten anything from account closure to calling the police if you don’t give them what they want.
It is important to know that no legitimate company will ever do this. Threats are not professional and if you receive a communication such as this you must contact the legitimate business immediately and ask them what is going on. You can then forward the malicious communication to them or the police and they can deal with this on your behalf.
2. Egregious Grammar and Spelling Errors
One of the most common issues you will notice with a scam email is spelling errors. Many scams are pulled by people who are not native to the US, and this means they don’t have a handle on the correct spelling or grammar to use. Interestingly, scammers may also intentionally include errors, under the notion that people who still fall for obviously suspicious emails will be more gullible and more likely to follow through with the rest of the scammer’s plan.
An occasional error or mistyped word may not be concerning, but obvious or egregious errors of grammar or syntax should be a major red flag. Be sure to look out for these inconsistencies.
3. Discrepancies in Links and Domains
It is important to note that no website or company such as Amazon will ask you to click and link and login to your account. When a link such as this exists, this will in reality be a page with a mask overlaid to make it look like the login page of a given site, but in reality it is a trick that allows them to collect your login details and steal them.
If you receive an email that seems suspicious the easiest thing you can do is look at the email address it has been sent from. If you receive an email from Amazon that is from an email address that looks like this:
This is not legitimate and should be reported. This also goes for linked URLs; if Amazon asks you to login at Amazon.com but this is not the URL linked, it’s a scam.
4. Request for Credentials
No company will ever ask you for your login details by email or over the phone! If you get a request for anything such as your password or bank details this is not real and needs to be reported right away.
As simple as they seem, phishing scams can pose a major threat for both individuals and businesses. If your business is being overwhelmed by spam, a trusted IT service provider can provide employee training and spam filters to reduce your risk of falling prey.
Look out for these signs of phishing this year and keep your data safe.