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Phishing Series – Part 3 – How to spot and avoid phishing emails

Phishing emails are messages from scammers which attempt to steal your confidential information through deceptive digital techniques.

Common things to look for in phishing emails

Phishing emails often appear to be sent by a well-known company – for example, you may receive a message which claims it is from your local bank. Within this message, their may be an embellished story to grip your attention and induce a feeling of worry within you.

‘Your payment details need updating…’, ‘We noticed some unusual activity on your account…’, ‘Congratulations! You have won…’.

These are all examples of a typical phishing email which may, at first, appear to be real. The hope of the scammer is that the panic induced in you by their message prompts you to click the link and fall victim to their scam.

If you are unsure of the legitimacy of an email – do not click any of the links.

Check the original email address that the email was sent from with the official email address of the organisation it claims to be representing; consider whether the information within the email is too generic to be credible; ensure that an email asking you to update your payment details is not spontaneous or unnecessary. If any of these factors are not crystal clear, the safe option is to avoid this email completely to reduce your risk of being a victim to a cyber-attack in the form of a phishing email.

Instead, make contact with the ‘sender’ via another communications channel – call your bank and ask if the email was from them. Make contact via social media, or respond to a previous email to determine the email’s legitimacy.

Read part 1 and part 2 of our series on phishing to find out more or register for our FREE IT Connectivity Business Review.

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