Has an urgent email from your bank ever startled you? The message likely stated that your account has been locked due to dubious transactions and asked you to validate your identity via a link to keep it active. Beware – this is possibly a trap!
Welcome to the world of ‘phishing’ scams. The tricksters who orchestrate these fraudulent schemes are known to craft cunningly realistic pages that mimic the originals with minor alterations. Typically, they will request private details such as passwords or account numbers. Armed with this sensitive data, they can effortlessly break into your financial accounts or establish new credit lines.
Phishing is an insidious facet of social engineering. The fraudsters disguise themselves as trustworthy entities to fool you into sharing your data. The COVID-19 pandemic saw a disturbing surge in phishing attacks and they show no signs of abating. But fear not – these scams often have red flags that can help you identify them. Equipping yourself with the right knowledge and maintaining a healthy level of skepticism can protect you from becoming a victim.
Spotting a Phishing Email: A Guide
Identifying a phishing email requires a touch of vigilance, but once you know what to look for, the process becomes straightforward.
Beware of Language Errors
Phishing emails are usually riddled with grammatical mistakes, inconsistent capitalization, and misspellings. They may also use peculiar phrases or sentences that seem somewhat off-kilter. If something strikes you as odd when you read the email aloud, treat it with caution. It could be a phishing attack.
Look for Pixelated Logos
Phishers often resort to copying and pasting the logos of government agencies, banks, and credit card providers in their phishing emails. If the logo appears blurry, indistinct, or unusually small, this may indicate that the sender does not represent the supposed company.
Scrutinize the URL
Perhaps the most reliable way to discern a phishing email is by examining the website URL. Hover over the link embedded in the message without clicking on it. This will reveal the URL, which might not correspond with the company purportedly sending you the email. Be cautious, though. Never click a link that you’re uncertain about – always hover, don’t click!
Going the Extra Mile to Stay Safe
In addition to maintaining an eye for detail, several tools can help nip phishing emails in the bud, preventing them from ever reaching your inbox.
At ProviNET Solutions, we have carefully evaluated and teamed up with vendors that offer superior email security based on your protection needs. Unsure if you need more robust security? Our ProviNET Solutions Client Care team would be delighted to discuss your email security stance and determine whether additional precautions could benefit you and your organization. Protect yourself and your organization today by staying vigilant and informed about these phishing threats.
Director of Marketing
Scott Sweeney is a data-driven leader with over 14 years of experience in marketing and communications. Scott has been with ProviNET Solutions for 9 years and directs the marketing efforts of the company.