From 2021 to 2022, the total amount of phishing emails sent increased by 61%. That is a staggering statistic, especially since this type of criminal behavior can cause many negative outcomes for businesses if they fall victim. For many, they will experience lost or stolen revenue, data breaches, and a tarnished reputation. Because of this, it’s crucial for you and your employees to learn how to spot phishing emails.
- Generic Greeting
A generic greeting like” Dear valued customer “or “Dear User” is often used in phishing emails because the attacker sends many emails simultaneously. However, in some cases, there is no greeting.
- The email address isn’t correct
If you’re questioning the validity of an email you’ve received, check the email address. Is it an email address you’re familiar with? Is there an unusual amount of numbers or misspellings within the email address? If not, don’t click on any links or PDFs within the email, as they are a way of putting malware on your device. Then block the sender and delete the email.
- Creates a sense of urgency
One of the most common red flags you’ll see in phishing attempts is the use of a sense of urgency. Common examples look like, “This is time sensitive, so please fill out the PDF below and send it back soon,” or “Your account has been hacked. You need to verify your account now”. The context can vary, so an easier way to detect if the sense of urgency is at play, ask yourself, “Does this email feel pushy”?
- Requesting to verify your account
If the email states that you need to verify your account because of suspicious activity, check the email address because this is a common line used by hackers. It’s important to note that this email could look like it came from HR, your bank, and even your Amazon account.
- Email containing a PDF attachment
Phishing emails often contain PDF attachments because unsuspecting people will download them, unaware they have malware. That’s why important to check the email address
- Grammatical or spelling errors
The easiest way to tell If an email is phishy is to look for obvious grammatical and or spelling errors. Often there will be many, so it will be easy to spot.
- If it feels too good to be true, then it probably is
Phishing emails can come from various senders and, at times, can look very credible. So, sometimes the only way you can spot a phishing email is if it seems too good to be true. For example, is it a job offer with a salary way above your industry standard? Or is the email offering you a large sum gift card for your personal information? Regardless of what the advance is, always trust your gut instinct. Meaning if it feels off in any way, trust that feeling.
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