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How to Spot & Prevent Phishing Attacks

You have most likely encountered phishing at some point, whether it be through emails, calls or instant messages in which people may be asking for access to your computer, your personal details or other data that needs to be protected. People can sometimes be tricked out by providing these thieves with passwords, account numbers or personal identification details. Therefore, it is your duty to ensure that you don’t get caught out and that you are aware of what a phishing attack looks like and the best ways to protect yourself.

Here are 5 ways to spot a phishing email.

Poorly written email

When reading through the email, check for spelling and grammatical errors. Genuine emails will have been checked for spelling and grammar mistakes by employers to maintain a professional line of communication and to uphold their ethos, whereas phishing emails are usually riddling with mistakes. Also, check if the email makes sense to you when reading it, as poorly constructed sentences are another sign of a phishing email.

It is even suggested that scam emails are deliberately poorly written to ensure that they only trick the most gullible targets.

The web and email addresses do not look genuine

This can be tricky to see at times, depending on how well-crafted the scammer has been to cover their tracks. If you glance at the email details, usually visible at the top of an email, you can view the sender’s details to see if a bogus variation of an email address has been used to appear authentic. For example, @mail.airbnb.work as opposed to @Airbnb.com

When checking for malicious links that have been concealed with the body of email text, you can hover over each link and inspect it before clicking on it. The actual link will appear and if it includes symbols or doesn’t resemble a genuine link, then do not click on it.

Generic salutations

Usually, with phishing emails, a generic salutation is used such as ‘Dear Customer’, which is usually because phishing emails are sent out in large batches to various people. Therefore, using impersonal salutations saves the scammers time, so if your name is not included in the great and the email overall feels impersonal, it is probably a phishing email.

Asking for personal information or email contains personal information

Sometimes emails can appear authentic, but the email contains strange requests which you wouldn’t normally expect. It is important to keep an eye out for emails requesting for personal information like your banking details or login credentials.  A genuine company would not ask you for information like this, unless necessary, but even then, they would not request this kind of information over an email.

Alternatively, you can receive an unexpected email containing personal information about yourself. This can include information about your previous employment which scammers could have retrieved from social media, such as a public LinkedIn profile. This may make the email appear more convincing to you but no genuine companies would include your personal information in an email, instead, they would ask you to review your details online with a secure link.

The message is designed to make you panic

It is common for phishing emails to contain messages that are designed to make you panic. The email may claim that your account is comprised or that it will be deleted in 24 hours, in which the only way to verify it is to reply with your login details. Most of the time, these are phishing emails, but if you are concerned about your account being deactivated, then you can get in touch with the company directly by visiting their trusted website and finding the contact details they provide.

How do I protect myself?

There is no guarantee that you will always be protected, but by implementing an adequate cybersecurity process in place at your company, you will be more protected against phishing attacks and other email-borne threats.

Moreover, make sure that you educate yourself on the different ways scammers send phishing emails and become aware of what each phishing email contains. If you are every unsure about an email, then delete it and get in touch directly with the company through the contact details you find on their website. When in doubt, throw it out!

Finally, an important tip to remember is that if something doesn’t look right then trust your instincts – they are more than likely right.

If you need a review of your cybersecurity protocols, then get in touch with Synergy Technology on 0345 456 0050 for our help.