Everyday people fall victim to phishing scams. And the sad thing is that there are things that you can do to help protect yourself from falling victim to these email scams. One of the best things that you can do is to learn the signs of phishing, but sometimes even if you know what signs to look for the emails can catch you off guard. The reason for this is that the emails are actually very real looking. So what you need to do is to make it a habit to ask yourself certain questions about all emails before you jump the gun and respond to them online.
Here are some questions that you should ask yourself as a self check for phishing.
The first thing that you need to ask yourself as a self check is do you actually have an account with the company that is sending you the email. The reason that this is the most important question to ask yourself is because if you don’t have an account with the company then you automatically know it is a phishing scam. The reason that you know this is because of the fact they would have no other reason to send you an email because you don’t have any business with them.
The next thing you need to ask yourself is if the email address is identifiable, meaning does it come from a legitimate source. The reason for this is many times the email address that is being used to send the email to you is from an unidentifiable source and all legit companies are going to use an identifiable source when sending you emails. Also you need to check the source code; this is actually critical in recognizing phishing. Usually what happens is that they show you one address but are actually using a different address and if you don’t check to see that both addresses match then you won’t notice that it is actually two different addresses.
The next thing that you need to ask yourself is there a sense of urgency to the email, meaning does it give you a time frame to respond by. Basically what this is trying to get you to do is to respond to the email quickly, they are hoping to catch you off guard, basically to get you to respond without thinking. These are just useless threats and if you are paying attention you won’t fall victim to them.
Something else you need to ask yourself is if there are any major mechanical errors, spelling errors or grammatical errors. Many times words will be misspelled slightly; there might be two “e’s” in a word that is only supposed to have one letter “e”. You can also look for characters in the wrong place. For example you can have three semicolons between phrases when there shouldn’t be any. Or the structure of the sentence is wrong. The reason that this can help you figure out if it’s a phishing email is because many times these scams are created by people who do not speak English so they get things mixed up. But legitimate companies are also going to use proofreaders to avoid these kinds of mistakes.
You also want to ask yourself how is the email addresses. Many times the phishing emails will be addressed to “Valued Customer or something similar. But the companies that you do business with will always address you by name, either first or last depending on how professional the company is.