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How to Spot a Phishing Email

Posted on 3rd June 2014

 

What are phishing emails?

Phishing emails are messages which are designed to steal your identity. Requesting personal data which can then be used to gain access to your online accounts, including bank accounts.

They do this by tricking you into entering information, normally by impersonating websites which actually record your personal information and send it on to others.

How do I spot a phishing email?

Phishing emails are relatively easy to spot, providing a few basic checks are performed.

1) Check the email address which the email comes from. If the email is from Halifax, but the email address is name@halifax-online.com or anything that is not @halifax.com, it is most likely a phishing email.

2) If the email asks you to click on a link, either to logon to their website, or to enter some information - try to identify if the link is fraudulent by hovering over the link to display where the link will actually take you. If the link is anything like the below, or doesn't look like it goes directly to the senders website. Delete the email immediately.

Bad Link

3) Check the attachments. Banks will never send you attachments, so don't open them. Secondly, check what file-type the attachments are. If they end in .EXE then this is a program which should be deleted immediately.
If they are .ZIP attachments, then it's most likely a fraudulent email, unless someone you know is trying to send you some large files, such as photos, music or video.

See below for an example email with an attachment. The Barclays name has been highlighted to show you how official looking the email can be.

Phishing Email Example 2

4) The Common Sense Check. This includes, but is not limited to the following:

* Are you expecting an email from this person?
* You have definitely not won the lottery, and no they would not notify you of this via email!
* If the issue is so urgent that your bank account is about to be frozen or closed, they are likely to call you.
* Likewise, if you are not expecting an email from the sender, and you suspect it may be a dodgy email, simply delete the email and wait to see if they send you another email. If the email really is genuine then the sender will likely send a chaser email to ask why you haven't replied.
* If you are still unsure, you can Google the first few lines of the email and it will most likely tell you straight away if this is a phishing email. As others who have received this email may have reported it online already. Failing this, you can always contact us here at Tekkers IT Solutions.

Using these basic checks above can very easily avoid malware and viruses which can be contained within emails.