Phishing emails are a common method used by online scammers. The aim of the scam, is to obtain personal information or cash. Phishing scams have been around for a long time but are becoming much more sophisticated. Scammers will often work hard to make their emails look like they come from a reputable company or person within a company. They will often have legitimate looking email footers, links, from fields and even websites behind links. Whilst mass generic mailings still happen, more sophisticated attackers are researching targets and using publicly available information to make their scam look more authentic.
However, there are often tell tale signs you can be on the lookout for.
- Invoking a sense of urgency or fear is a common phishing tactic. It is a psychological trick used to trigger the following responses: urgency, desire to please, greed, curiosity, complacency and fear. If an email is unusually pushy just take time to make sure the requests are genuine.
- Phishing emails can sometimes be spotted simply by the poor language used in the body of the message. If you spot spelling and grammatical mistakes, as well as strange turns of phrase, then again, take the time to verify who the email is coming from. Some scam emails are deliberately poorly written in order to bypass system filters.
- People usually have a very distinct type and style of communications, and you are likely to take note of it, either consciously or subconsciously. If an email feels “fishy”, it could be that you subconsciously noticed the sender is using a style and choice of words not usual to them. Trust your instincts and if something feels off, investigate the email before responding or clicking on any links or attachments.