We have recently seen a significant number of email scams circulating designed to make people click on a link that appears to come from a known email whether it be a customer or a work colleague. These types of emails are known as Phishing Scams.
Many phishing scams look genuine and it can be difficult to tell that they are not legitimate. If an email looks suspicious, check for the following to assist you in determining if he email should not be opened.
The following points will assist you in determining if you have received a phishing email.
- Is the message from an unknown source?
- Is the sender asking you to verify some of your details? Banks, power companies, phone companies etc will not ask you to verify any details in an email.
- The email is from a known contact, but the message does not match how the person would normally talk to you. They might sign off with a “Cheers” or “Until next time” when normally they would have a well-structured email signature.
- Contains too many grammatical or spelling errors.
- Is sent from a Gmail or Yahoo account but claims to be from a company.
- Contacts you when you are not expecting them to contact you.
- Asks for financial help.
- Misspells your name or addresses you as something generic like ‘My Dear’
- Advises that you have won a prize and you need to claim it online by clicking on a link.
- Advises of an inheritance or offers unclaimed money via a link.
- When the email does include a link, hover over the link with your mouse cursor without clicking on the link. A box will display with the website address of where the link goes. If it does not look relevant to what you have received or you are unsure, do not click on the link.
- Is there a ZIP file attachment? If combined with any of the above dot points, then this usually means a scam. ZIP files are sometimes not scanned by some antivirus products and this is what the sender is hoping.
If any of the above criteria match your message, then alarm bells should ring. It is best to delete the message or if in doubt, contact the sender and ask them if they have sent you the message.
For further education on phishing scams, please see the following websites
Email Phishing Scams from NetSafe, New Zealand.
How to recognise and avoid phishing scams from the American Federal Trade Commission.
Phishing awareness training from Vadesecure, Global leader in predictive email defense.