Phishing emails are the most devastating type of online attack in 2014. Even the best antivirus software won’t protect you from a good phishing email.
A good phishing email convinces you to perform all of the malicious tasks yourself. You personally install software, share private information, or hand over remote access to your PC online.
For all of these reasons, phishers are getting their lines ready for another year of plundering vulnerable computers around the world. And the first place they start is with a good phishing email.
Today, I’m going to show you 5 easy ways to spot a phishing email and avoid being tricked by some of the worst people on the internet:
5) There’s a misleading URL
You should always think twice before clicking on a URL in any email. The most important thing to do is hover over that link, then look in the lower left corner of your browser. You’ll see a line that tells you where that link is pointing.
Most URLs point to the same location identified in the URL in your email. However, phishing emails usually look something like this:
Instead of taking you to your actual bank’s website, found at YourRealBankingWebsite.com, that URL will take you to another location, like YourFakeBankingWebsite.com. Be careful and always look at the URL before you click. Look for mismatched domains and suspicious website names.
4) Poor spelling and grammar
does the email loook liek thiss???? then it may phishing attack you!
It hurt me to write that, but you get my point: phishing emails are commonly sent out by people in non-English speaking countries. Nigeria has become famous for its phishing emails, for example, and Russian hackers are always making news headlines.
The point is: phishing attacks generally feature bad spelling and poor grammar. If the person was really a long lost friend or a representative of your bank, then they’re probably educated enough to type properly.
3) Wire transfer or any type of money transfer
As soon as you see words like “wire transfer”, “Western Union”, or “money transfer” in an email, you’re probably reading a phishing email. Western Union is a money transfer service primarily still used in developing countries like India (and also sometimes still used for real business in the rest of the world).
The email could just be your grandma sending your some birthday money, but probably not. As soon as an unsolicited email asks for any type of money to be transferred, you should just close your browser and exit because it’s probably a scam.
2) Asking for personal information
Very few things are so important in the world that they need personal information to be divulged over email. The few things which are that important tend to come from real people. Real people generally leave a phone number or alternate form of contact.
Phishing emails may ask for detailed personal info. They may claim to be a representative of your bank asking for a PIN and username, for example, or your mother’s maiden name. Whatever the reason may be, there’s no reason to give out your personal information over email unless you’re absolutely sure who the contact is.
1) It’s too good to be true
I put this in the number one spot for a reason: it’s the easiest way to spot any scam online. If something is true good to be true, then it usually is. That rule is particularly true online, where there are millions of people trying to scam you, hack you, and steal your information.
Some examples of phishing emails that are too good to be true include:
-You just won the lottery
-You just won a trip
-You just won [insert anything you want here]
-You’ve inherited a million dollars
Most intelligent people know these are scams and ignore the emails. But if everybody did that, these scammers would disappear overnight. If you’re one of the idiots still believing that people give out free stuff on the internet without expecting something in return, then you need to smarten up.