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How to Spot Phishing Scams

Updated: January 11, 2024

Phishing scams occur when a scam artist tries to convince you to give them your sensitive information. This could be your password, user name, bank account information, credit card details, etc. These phishing scams usually come in the form of an email. According to IT company AGG, about 3.4 billion spam emails are sent daily, making it the most common form of cybercrime. Usually, they lure you into clicking on a malicious link. In this blog, we’ll give you tips on how to spot a phishing scam so you can avoid falling victim to these scammers.

Appealing to Emotion

 
Phishing scams will attempt to elicit specific emotions such as…

Greed: A phishing scam may tempt you with a monetary reward in return for clicking on a link or providing your personal information. If the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Curiosity: Phishing emails will take advantage of your natural curiosity by promising to show you something exciting in exchange for clicking on a link, or entering your personal information. This is often referred to as click-bait, and is very common on social networking sites.

Urgency: A phishing scam may also try to place a sense of urgency on you to complete a certain action. This is a major red flag. 

Fear: Phishing scams will often times use threats as a way to get you to act. Don’t fall for this.

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Person receiving an email on their laptop from an unknown sender

Strange Email Elements

 
Many phishing scams are carried out via email. Some signs of a suspicious email include…

Odd Sender Address: If the sender’s email address does not match the sender’s name in his or her signature, or if the sender’s email address includes many random letters and symbols, approach with caution.

Strange Tone: If the email content does not read well, and contains multiple misspellings and grammatical errors, do not click any links, open any attachments, or provide the sender with any personal information. 

Unexpected Attachments & Requests for Action

 
Always be mindful of the actions you take online. Be highly skeptical of…
 
Attachments: If you receive an attachment from someone you do not know, or from someone you were not expecting an attachment from, proceed with caution. If you’re unsure about the validity of an attachment do not open it, as doing so could infect your device if the attachment is malicious.

Login Pages: Be highly skeptical of any email that asks you to click on a link and log in to one of your accounts. If you click the link in the email and enter your credentials, the scammer could gain access to your account.

Links: Be careful of the links you click on from an email. Malicious links could infect your computer or mobile device. Before you click a link, place your cursor over it to inspect it. If you are unsure if it is valid, it’s better not to click and be safe rather than sorry.

Person holding a credit card and looking at their laptop suspiciously

Don’t let yourself become a victim of these scams. Safeguard your sensitive information with these 7 Ways to Protect Your Identity.

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