Have you ever received an email that just didn’t seem right? It could have been from a company executive, the government, a bank, or even a good friend. The email asks you to click a link, visit a website, fill out a form, open a document or view an image and before you know it your computer has been infected. You have just been phished. With millions of phishing emails sent each day, it’s not surprising that you’ve most likely all encountered at least one of these emails. Most of these phishing attempts are blocked by spam and virus filter technology but about 10% get through. After technology has done it’s duty, it’s time for you to do yours!
Below are some recommendations that will help you spot a phishing attempt and avoid it in order to keep your personal or work information safe.
- If the sender has an odd sense of urgency…be suspicious, especially in regards to wiring money or giving account numbers.
- Look out for requests to validate an account for your email, bank, or other account before a pending deadline.
- Do not open attachments from sources you do not know or trust.
- If in doubt, create a new email or call the sender and ask them if it is valid. Don’t reply directly to the suspect email.
- Be suspicious of documents you were not expecting.
- Look carefully at the sender name and formatting. Is the sender name properly spelled? Is the address what you normally see from this user? Does the domain (the part to the right of the @ symbol) appears to be correct for this sender?
- Never respond to emails with personal or confidential information (passwords, account numbers, credit card numbers, social security numbers, or other information you would not want a criminal to have in their possession).
- Be suspicious of emails that are not personalized to you or have grammar or spelling errors.
- You can hover your cursor over web links to see the target web address. Don’t click on links you don’t know, or that just don’t look right.
- Move suspect emails to the “Report Spam” folder to help improve the technical filtering capabilities.
As with anything, these hackers are advancing. Phishing happens now via text messaging or even phone calls. Be extra cautious of messages or calls from numbers you don’t recognize and don’t give out any information.
Remember, trust your gut! It’s better to be safe than sorry.
For more information, check out our related blog post: https://techhelpboston.com/2016/10/19/protect-yourself-hackers-duping-people-to-believe-they-are-microsoft-or-apple-support/