Do you know how to spot a phishing email? You may be surprised to know that 97% of people cannot identify a phishing email. Yikes! This staggering statistic proves there is a lack of cybersecurity training. As a business owner, CEO, or decision maker, protecting your company against cyber threats should be a top priority. Among the most dangerous threats are phishing emails. Through a carefully crafted email, hackers can trick employees into revealing sensitive information, opening up your organization to a potential data breach. But how can you spot a phishing email? Here are five ways to identify and avoid these sneaky scams.
How to Spot a Phishing Email – Our Top 5 Tips
Tip #1: Check the sender’s email address
Phishing emails usually have a false email address that is slightly different from the sender’s legitimate one. Always double-check the sender’s email address to ensure it is accurate. Make sure they are using the right domain name, and check for any errors in spelling or punctuation that may indicate the email is fake.
Tip #2: Look for grammatical and spelling errors
Phishing emails often have grammatical and spelling errors because the hackers may not be native English speakers. Most businesses put a lot of effort into crafting professional and error-free emails, so make sure to watch out for any mistakes that may give the email away as a scam.
Tip #3: Check the urgency of the message
Phishing emails typically use desperation tactics to get recipients to act quickly. They may threaten penalties, financial repercussions, suspension of accounts, or promise rewards. Be suspicious of any email that creates an urgent situation and pressures you into clicking on a link or downloading an attachment.
Phishing emails often come with embedded links that direct you to a false webpage designed to harvest your data. Hover your cursor over the link, and it will display the actual website address. Look out for any unusual or suspicious-looking URLs. Additionally, if you’re instructed to sign in on a form, check the URL to be sure it is for the company they claim to be.
Tip #5: Watch out for generic greetings and sign-offs
Phishing emails usually have generic openings and sign-offs that do not include specific information about your name, the company’s name, or your role in the company. Genuine emails usually include personalized and professional greetings that address you by name and contain relevant information specific to your company and the task at hand. So, if you see anything generic, be suspicious – it could be a phishing email.
What is a Phishing Email?
Phishing is a form of cybercrime in which an attacker masquerades as a trustworthy entity to acquire sensitive information. A phishing email might look like it’s from a bank, a social networking site, or an online payment website or service. It often directs you to a website where you’re asked to update personal information—information that the legitimate organization already has.
What to Do If You’ve Been Phished
- Change Passwords: If you suspect your information has been compromised, change your passwords immediately.
- Contact the Organization: Reach out to the supposedly ‘phishing’ organization via a verified method and inform them of the suspicious email.
- Report the Email: Forward phishing emails to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Perform a Security Scan: Run a security scan on your computer to check for malware.
- Monitor Your Accounts: Keep an eye on your financial accounts and credit reports to catch any unauthorized activity.
Wrapping Up – How to Identify Phishing Emails
Phishing scams are rampant and can be costly for a business, but armed with our tips, you can recognize them quickly and avoid a security breach. Educate your team on the dangers and warning signs of phishing emails, and hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Always err on the side of caution when opening emails and clicking on links or attachments. By learning how to spot a phishing email, you can protect your business and your data against cyber-attacks and enhance your overall cybersecurity.