How to Identify and Avoid Phishing Emails

The IT Dept. at Debt Reduction Services has compiled some information to help you keep your identity and personal information safe and out of hacker or scammers hands.

email-824310_1920Every day a countless amount of phishing email is sent out via the internet.  Some phishing emails are easy to spot but others appear like legitimate emails from reputable companies.  There is no single way to spot all phishing emails, but below are a number of ways that will help you identify them.

 The message contains a mismatched URL

Each email has an embedded URL.  If you hover your mouse cursor over the top of the URL it will show you the actual hyperlinked address.  If these two don’t match then the message is probably fraudulent or malicious.

The URL might contain a domain name that is misleading

Domains can be confusing to someone who doesn’t know how they work and people who send out malicious emails use this to their advantage.  There is more than one part to a domain name, for example support.yourbank.com, yourbank.com is the domain and support.yourbank.com would be a child domain.  If you had a domain that read yourbank.baddomain.com, it might look like it’s from yourbank.com but it is actually from baddomain.com and is likely to be a malicious email.

There are a lot of grammatical and spelling errors

A lot of phishing emails come from outside the U.S., this can cause there to be numerous errors in grammar and spelling in these types of emails.  If a large corporation such as your bank is sending you an email they will make sure that it is proof read before it is sent out.

You are asked for personal information via email

No reputable company will ask you for your personal information through email.  For example, your bank already has you credit card number, account number and any other personal information; they would never ask you to send it to them through email or even give it over the phone.

Something is too good to be true

You receive an email saying that you won a new car but you didn’t put in for any drawing.  This would most likely be a malicious email.  You can’t win a lottery if you don’t buy a ticket.

Beware of urgent or threatening language in the subject line

Invoking a sense of urgency or fear is a common phishing tactic.  Beware of subject lines that clam your account has been suspended or there was a bad login attempt.

Don’t click on attachments

Malicious emails can contain viruses and malware that can damage your computer or steal your passwords without you even knowing.  The best practice is to not open any attachments from an email that you were not expecting.

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