Phishing emails are all over the internet, and they can be challenging to spot. They often look like legitimate emails from banks, retailers, or other trusted sources. If you regularly check your inbox, you probably received one in the past few months.
Are you one of those people who gets several phishing emails every day? If your answer is yes, then this blog post is for you. Today, we’re going to teach you how to spot a phishing email and protect yourself from possible attacks.
What’s a phishing email?
As technology becomes more widespread, so does the number of cybercrime activities. Phishing is one such criminal activity that is on the rise, and it can be particularly cumbersome for businesses and bank consumers who experience it.
In a nutshell, phishing is when someone pretends to be someone else to take advantage of you. In the context of email, this means the sender of an email pretends to be from a bank or other service provider, telling you that your account has been compromised and asking for personal information.
Sometimes they will even send you a “confirmation” link to click on so they can gain access to your computer.
Phishing emails are designed to look like they come from a legitimate source, but they contain malicious content or links. When unsuspecting users click on these links or open the attachments, they may inadvertently download malware onto their devices or provide sensitive information to the scammers.
So. how can you tell if an email is really from your bank or not? Here are some tips to help you spot a phishing email.
#1 Sender’s fake email address
Phishers will often try to make their email appear as legitimate as possible by using a sender’s name or company name similar to the real one.
However, there are usually some discrepancies, such as differing email extensions. For example, in the screenshot above, you will spot the fake email address used as if it was sent from Philippine National Bank (PNB).
#2 Poor spelling and grammar
Phishers often make mistakes with spelling and grammar to make their emails appear less credible. Look out for common errors such as incorrect use of apostrophes (e.g., “we’re” instead of “were”) or inaccurate verb tenses (e.g., “you will be receiving a message shortly”).
If you read the message above and review the grammar, you can easily spot that it’s a fake email. There’s even the use of the word ’12hrs’ instead of 12 hours, which is too apparent.
#3 Suspicious URLs
One of the most common ways for phishers to trick people is by including malicious links in their emails. These links may lead to fake websites designed to steal your personal information or install malware on your device.
If you hover your cursor over the link, you will see the actual website in the bottom left-hand corner of your screen. However, some phishers will disguise malicious links by using shortened URLs (e.g., Bit.ly), so it’s important to be suspicious of any links you receive in your emails. Resist the urge to click any link.
#4 Strange or unexpected attachments
Phishers often try to lure you into opening malicious attachments by pretending they are from a known contact or company.
Be wary of any attachments you receive in your email, especially from an unknown sender. It’s best to avoid opening any attachments unless you are sure they are safe.
#5 Unusual formatting
Some phishers will try to make their emails seem more legitimate by using the same formatting as the actual sender. However, they may also use odd formatting in an attempt to trick you into thinking that it’s a scam.
Look out for any differences between the email header and actual content (e.g., bolded words or different fonts). If you look at the screenshot above, you will see the variations of the format in the email, which is too obvious – it’s a phishing email.
#6 Urgency claims of “Urgent Action Required”
Many of these emails will include urgent claims that involve requests for passwords or personal information, such as tax updates or bank statements that are supposedly required immediately.
These emails may even threaten legal action if you don’t reply within a specific timeframe. Be wary of any requests for this kind of information because it is likely a scam. In the example above, the sender urgently requests you to delete your PNB account permanently, and banks will never ask depositors to do that and send it via email.
#7 Request for personal information
Phishers often try to get users to divulge personal information such as passwords, credit card numbers, or bank account numbers. They may even go so far as to create fake websites that look like the real thing to steal your information.
Be very careful about any online forms you fill out, and never give away your personal information unless you are sure that the website is legitimate. Check the URL if it’s the bank’s official website with an “https://” with a padlock icon.
#8 Request for your help
Another common phishing tactic is to ask users for help with something before revealing the true intent of the email. For example, you might receive an email that claims to be from your bank asking you to verify your account information.
However, if you click on the link provided in the email, it will take you to a website where you are asked to input your personal information. Be very careful about any requests for help, especially if they come from unknown senders, and never give your personal information online unless you verify the website’s legitimacy.
Phishing emails are a common way cybercriminals try to steal your personal information. These malicious messages and attachments are disguised as anything from an invoice, document, or email template to trick you into clicking on links that will take you to sites where they hope to capture your banking login credentials.
If any of these signs sound familiar in your inbox today, don’t hesitate to delete them immediately! When it comes to phishing scams – delete them without opening the email. If the subject line is sketchy, that’s another reason you should ignore it.
Have you received phishing emails lately? How did you handle them? Let us know your experience in the comments below.