Email phishing is a mainstay in online scams and other forms of cybercrime. That doesn’t mean it is any less dangerous just because it has been around for a long time. Many people still don’t know how to spot a phishing email. People continue to fall victim to them every day. A 2019 Verizon report suggested that 32% of all cyberattacks involve phishing. If that raises concerns with you, read on to find out more about recognizing email phishing attempts.
Public Domain Emails
Legitimate companies tend not to send their customers emails from public domains like Gmail. In fact, Google itself doesn’t send you any emails via Gmail. If the domain name, i.e. @xyzcorp.ltd matches the sender, the email is probably not phishing. One of the easiest ways to verify if an apparent domain name is legit is to search the company’s name on Google. So for example, if you receive a suspicious-looking email from offering a great deal on internet plans, you should search for your provider. If you have affordable internet deals, the email should be from Spectrum.com or something similar instead of Gmail. Unless you’re involved with an independent worker, most professional interactions tend to be over the company’s accounts and email domain.
Email Address in Sender Names
However, this may not always be a foolproof way to avoid phishing. Hackers tend to be very clever individuals. You shouldn’t just look at the sender’s name, but the sender’s email address as well. The display name can be made to look like a bogus email address. The address will always be different from an actual company. However, many hackers often come up with creative email addresses that look like the real deal. For example, a scammer imitating PayPal could use the address email@example.com. This is a clever play on the actual email address, which would have the domain name in the email address i.e, @paypal.com.
Misspelled Domain Names
Domain names also contain other clues if you’re looking at a phishing email. These days, anyone can buy a domain name from a domain registrar. Yes, you’re correct if you’re thinking every domain name has to be unique. Unfortunately, there are still a number of ways to create clever email addresses to fool the unsuspecting. Replacing an “m” from the Spectrum domain name with an “rn” i.e “Spectrum” is an example.
Most scams have poor grammar, spelling, and syntax. This is no accident. Hackers are not stupid. They target gullible people, preying on the uneducated because they tend to be easy victims. The infamous Nigerian prince scams are a good example. They prey on people who lack the healthy skepticism needed to detect a scam online.
Forcing You to A Website
A legit company will never send you an email that forces you to their website. On the other hand, hackers often code the entire email as a hyperlink. That means if you click on or anywhere around the email, you’ll be taken to a fake webpage. In other cases, the page might download spam onto your computer. If this ever happens to you, run a check for spamware and other malware as soon as possible.
A legitimate organization will never send you an unsolicited attachment in an email. If they need you to download a file, they will direct you to their website to do it. It’s recommended to get help from an email marketing agency as they could help you make it all stay safe with their expertise. If you’ve subscribed to a learning center, for example, you may sometimes receive emails with whitepapers as attachments. If this happens to you, you should check of the file is .exe, .scr, or .zip. These are high-risk file types to download from the internet.
The Dangers of Being a Phishing Victim
Phishing email scams are almost as old as the internet. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to worry about them. The consequences of being a phishing victim can be varied. In most cases, the hacker will try to steal your bank info, credit card details, phone number, etc. In other cases, they could try to steal your digital identity and misuse it.
Hackers can even attempt to install malware on your computer to use in their malicious activities. From peeking in through your webcam to setting up a botnet, hackers can cause harm in many ways. If you see issues, like slower Cox internet speeds on your connection for no reason, you could be a victim already. Run anti-malware checks frequently and update your antivirus software periodically to stay safe.
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