As the number of spam and phishing emails continues to rise, it is increasingly more valuable for you and your staff to be trained how to recognize a scam when you see one.
Do you know how to identify and handle email scams that want to infiltrate your business? Let us start with these tricks to recognize an email scam
- Look at the email headers: Some of the first pointers you’ll get are the email headers, i.e. the subject line, the sender name, and so on. Beware of fake names, the reason many people get sucked into scams is because the names used by such scams sound pretty popular. One of the biggest traps people fall in is, they think the email address that sent them the mail looks legit.
- Look at the language used: You can tell when an email has been auto-generated when it contains too many special characters, such as quotes, periods, commas, etc. Many hackers will misspell words on purpose. This is actually a tactic used to find less worried users. Hackers have learned that if they get a response from this type of email, they are onto an easier target and will focus their efforts against that user.
- Look carefully at the URL: Always make sure the link is legitimate. On most smartphones, you can long press hyperlinks to see more info. The URL is probably the one thing that will give away a scam, which is why they try to disguise it as best as they can. They try to make their emails and webpages look like real ones, and even try to hide the URL. the URL looks something like ‘amazon.com-index.in’, in reality, it is actually a .in domain, with Amazon as a sub-domain, which anyone can configure on their own domains
- Pay Attention to Emails with Plain Text and No Logos: Legitimate emails will be written in HTML and will contain a mix of plain text and images. Also, legitimate emails generally have the company’s logo. A phishing email may have an absence of images, including the lack of company logos. When you receive an email claiming to be a company you’re family with, check out the logo and message branding. If the email looks different from the emails you usually get from that company, the current email is likely a scam.
- The whole Message Body Is An Image: Many hackers will send an email without any “actual” text, the entire message will just be an image. Make sure the email is a mixture of text and images.
- Beware of Requests for Personal Information: A common tactic that is used by hackers is to alert you that you must provide or update your personal account information. (Social Security number, bank account details, account username or password). Most reputable companies will never email you asking for personal information, especially not unprovoked. If you receive an email asking you to divulge personal details, then there’s a good chance the message is from a scammer.
- Be Suspicious of Unfamiliar Attachments: is this the first time this company has sent me an attachment? Most reputable retailers or financial institutions will not send attachments via email, so be extra careful about opening any from senders or messages that seem suspicious.
How to recognize an email scam in under 60 seconds?
Here are the top questions you need to ask yourself to recognize if the email you received is a scam:
- Is the email from someone you do not know, or communicate with normally?
- Is the person asking for something unusual, Information related to an online account or password, or otherwise acting out of the usual behavior?
- Is the sender’s email address from a suspicious popular domain?
- Were you CC’ed on an email with other people you do not know?
- Does the subject line seem irrelevant, not make sense, or not match the content of the email?
- Is the email a reply to a message you never sent?
- Is the sender asking you to click on a link or open an attachment?
- When you hover over any links within the email, does it show a different link than what is contained within the body of the email?
- Is the link to a well-known website, but spelled incorrectly and somewhat suspicious looking?
- Is the sender stating something bad will happen if you do not click the link, or that there is extreme value in clicking the link?
- Does the email contain spelling mistakes?
- Is your gut or “Spidey Sense” trying to tell you something…
If you answer yes to any of the following questions, the email you just opened may well be a scam.
Empowering your employees to recognize common cyber threats can help your organization’s computer security. Security awareness training helps employees to understand vulnerabilities and threats to business operations.
Having a well-established cybersecurity strategy, and a cybersecurity training and awareness program to accompany it, are key to the security of modern-day businesses. Are you interested in testing and measuring the effectiveness of your cybersecurity? Fill out the form at the right and find out.