In this article you will be introduced to some of the main strategies used to identify illegitimate emails that could be harmful to you or your organisation.
Scammers have been gaining access to personal and company information through phishing emails for many years and they’re only getting better at disguising these as authentic emails.
You may be under the impression that your email filters out all these harmful emails and that they will only end up in your junk folder, this is not always the case. Scammers using emails to gain access to your details are constantly improving and updating their emails which might cause a few to slip through.
Here are a couple of tips to help you identify such emails.
1. Be aware of the details that the company is asking you for:
Always be skeptical when an email is asking you for username and password details and be very concerned if they’re asking for bank account details. A company like Microsoft wouldn’t send you an email asking you for your password or account details as they would already have this on file.
2. Check the email address sending you the email:
This could be a clear indicator of whether an email could be harmful, if you don’t recognize the domain or the email address appears to be randomly generated it could be a phishing email. Here’s an example of a very clear scam email:
This email claims to be a mailbox recovery from office365 but when you look at the email address it appears to be sent from a personal mailbox and the domain doesn’t match that of office 365.
3. Don’t follow any hyperlinks until you know the email’s safe:
Scam emails will often include a hyperlink for you to follow, it might seem like a good idea to click on these to get more information, but these are where the dangers normally lie. If an email is legitimate it will have hyperlinks that are relevant and will imbed them well. In this Office365 email a hyperlink was included which is clearly dangerous.
This hyperlink was at the top of the email with no actual text included which raised concerns. You can also see the URL that the link follows by holding your mouse over the hyperlink (but not clicking), it will appear at the bottom of the window.
4. Don’t open any attachments until you trust the email:
Much like hyperlinks scam emails will often include an attachment, don’t open these until you’re sure that the email is legitimate. Emails that are sent by legitimate companies won’t very often send an attachment without some prior interaction. If you receive an email telling you to download an attachment which you don’t already know the content of you should be very wary.
5. Check spelling and grammar:
An Email from a legitimate source should have correct spelling and grammar. If a company is emailing you, they are often very concerned about their professionalism and the email will very rarely contain any major spelling or grammar errors. If you’re sent an email with major spelling or grammatical errors, you should remain skeptical.
Any time you receive an email that appears to be even slightly illegitimate don’t be afraid to ask others for assistance or for another opinion. If you find a scam email don’t click on any attachments or hyperlinks and delete it immediately.
If you’re still unsure about how to identify scam emails you might want to have a look through your scam folder to see some examples of emails that have been automatically deleted by your computer.
If you have any questions please contact us on 1300 700 187.