Phishing emails are a method used by hackers to trick people into giving out personal information. They may appear to be from Costco, McDonald’s or any number of legitimate sources. Instead, their sole purpose is not to award you $10,000 in gift certificates or open the gates to a special offer—these emails seek login and credit card information. To avoid falling victim to these scams in St. Charles County, MO, here are seven phishing email signs to help you send that message straight to your spam folder:
- It requests sensitive information: Due to the concerns over secure online transactions, legitimate companies know better than to request sensitive information over email. Any request for a password, credit card information or a credit score that occurs over email is not valid. These emails may also send you a link for where to submit this information. Do not do it—“lockouts” from your online accounts are uncommon, and even then, no companies ask you to “unlock” your account in this way.
- You are given a generic address: Emails that start out with “Dear valued member” or “Account holder” show that the sender does not have your information and hopes to get it. However, if you have an online account with Costco, they will send an email addressing you by name. After all, since you have a legitimate account with them, they would know it!
- Domain email does not match: There are phishing emails that are near perfect. These emails contain no salutations and the graphics are similar to what the legitimate company would use. If people fall victim to phishing, these are the emails that accomplish it. That is why you should check the domain email when you receive an offer. firstname.lastname@example.org is usually legitimate while email@example.com may not be. However, this is not foolproof, as companies may use mailing list software or third-party mail providers.
- Spelling errors: Even small companies proofread their emails before sending them. Bad grammar and spelling errors are surefire giveaways even if the email addresses and graphics are convincing.
- Whole email is a hyperlink: Legitimate companies do not need to force you to their websites. Links to offers are clearly marked and linked. However, phishing emails often make the entire email a hyperlink, meaning if you click anywhere on it, you will find yourself on a spam page. This is how many people not only get phished but also end up with computers infected with malware. If an email looks suspicious, never click anywhere on it.
- Attachments: Amazon does not send you attachments—it sends you links. Phishers, on the other hand, send unsolicited attachments with promises of the next great deal you do not want to miss! If you did not request a form or document, and yet find one in your email, avoid opening it.
- URLs do not match: You can see a link address by hovering your cursor over it without clicking. If the link embedded in the text is not the same as the URL displayed as you hover, it is likely not legitimate, and you risk encountering malware if you visit the site.
Computer Paramedic offers computer repair in St. Charles County, MO. Whether you accidentally downloaded malware, failed to notice phishing email signs or just need a faster and cleaner system, we can help. Contact us today to learn more.
Categorised in: Computer Security