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How To Identify A Phishing Email

Lately, I am getting a lot of phishing emails and I noticed that they are getting more and more convincing in appearing to be sent by an authentic source, like a business, bank or institution. That’s why it’s very important to be able to identify the scam before you take any action that may result in your personal information getting stolen or your device infected with a virus or malware.

Here are a few things to consider before you click any link or download an attached file sent in a suspicious email.

Is this email really for you?

The first question to ask yourself is whether you use the service of this company and whether you have shared your email with them. Also, note whether they use your name in the email. Using a generic greeting is often a sign of a phishing email.

Are the email address and domain authentic?

Most legit organizations use their domain and company accounts. Make a quick google search to see whether the domain and the names of the sender are associated with the company. Make sure there isn’t a typo in the domain name that’s easy to miss; this is another common trick scammers use.

For example, an email from PayPal would come from @ paypal . com 

However, a phishing email address could look like this: 

paypal @ 123 . com 

noreply @ paypai . com 

johnsmith @ paypal1 . com

Another thing to consider is the country the email comes from. Phishing emails often come from domains of countries unrelated to you or the business that’s contacting you.  Take a look at the list with country code top-level domains here.

Other signs that you have received a scam email:

Poorly written text – there are different hypotheses why scam emails are often written poorly, but legitimate companies usually don’t send emails with obvious spelling and grammar mistakes;

A message that creates a sense of urgency or is designed to panic you. For example, they may say there’s suspicious activity or log-in attempts, a problem with your account or your payment information, a payment you have missed, or they may include a fake invoice or coupon;  

A request for sensitive information like passwords or bank information;

Suspicious links or attached files. You can check the real URL by hovering your mouse over the link and see whether they match. Sometimes, scammers even code the whole email as a hyperlink, so if you accidentally click anywhere on the emails screen, you’ll open a fake page or download an infected file.

When in doubt, it’s best to contact the company or institution through the contacts shown on their official website, or visit a near physical office personally.

Have you received phishing emails? Do you have any other tips to add?

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Written by ellie925

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  1. These are increasing now. We just received a mail from some of our govt departments telling us that they do not contact us unless there is an emergency and it is usually a call or a mail addressed personally to you.

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