If you are like me, a day doesn't pass when you receive a number of emails that are spam. Most of us recognize spam when we see it, but sometimes it is very subtle and we can click on a link before we realize that it's from a hacker. Today, hackers and spammers are more cagey in the emails that they send. Let's be sure we are doing all we can to avert compromising our personal information.
Spam is irrelevant, inappropriate as well as unwanted email sent to a large group of people. It is important that we recognize real email vs. fake one in order to protect our personal information. I have received emails from banks, Apple, PayPal and others claiming I am pass due on a payment, my account has been blocked, or requesting information. Scammers often pose as an official organization by using the logo from that company.
Tips on verifying emails
Check the senders email address by clicking on the person's name in the header. A business email typically will not come from Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo. Be sure that there aren't a string of numbers in the email address either.
A bank will never send you an email requesting sensitive financial information. Delete the email immediately.
Look at the email greeting as spam email usually begins with a generic greeting or a "Good Day"
Look at the content of the email and do not click any links. Also watch for spelling and grammatical errors. Review the quality of any images as their company logos are usually not high quality.
Check out the email header as it provides information about then sender and the path it took to get to you. It provides detailed information as to where the email came from and how it was routed to you.The link below will show you how to so see what is hidden to know if this email is legit! https://mxtoolbox.com/public/content/emailheaders/
By simply clicking on the down arrow of the email name you can see who has actually sent the email in question. If you don't recognize the sender delete the email.
If it appears fishy...its a Phishing email!
Phishing emails is a fraudulent practice of sending emails to hundreds or thousands of users hoping the person will click on a link to an imitation page of a reputable company like the one I received from "Apple" several weeks ago in order to get personal information. You must look carefully at the url link as there will be a slight change. Microsoft and Covid-19 are popular spoofs right now.
Some scams involve directing one to product sites which offer low cost products or services. When someone tries to purchase a product and enters their credit card details the information is collected by the phishing site. These links take one to a fake website so always hover the mouse over the link to view the actual address.
Spear phishing (What about these names...makes one want to be on a boat in the ocean) This term is different in that it is deals with compromising a business email. A scenario might go like this. The culprit finds you on Linked-in and discovers who's your boss. A fake email is create using the name of the boss who then requests personal information from you or may request wiring money. This often happens when the boss is out of town on vacation. Emails filters will often catch these, but we all must beware and not give anyone personal information via email.
Don't be fooled: Some of the top phishing emails to be aware of
A Billing Problem -This tactic is tricky because it appears quite legitimate. This email states that an item you purchased online cannot be shipped to you because the credit card was expired (or billing address wasn’t correct, etc.).
The Expiration Date - This email falsely explains that your account with a certain company is about to expire, and you must sign in as soon as possible to avoid losing all your data. Conveniently enough, there is a link in the email, which again takes you to a spoofed login page.
The Virus Scare - This email states that your computer has been infected or that one of your accounts has been breached. In order to avoid losing your money or data or infecting your computer the email instructs you to follow a link to download the attachment.
You are a winner!- Who wouldn't love to be a winner of anything! If you receive an email that claim you’ve won something, or received an inheritance from a relative you've never heard of 99.9% of the time, these are absolutely bogus. (I know you know this!)The email requires you click a link and enter your info for prize shipment.
Update your account - This is a spoof email telling you that something is wrong with your computer. They provide a link for your to click on to gather your information.
Cloud Files - A hacker will email you what appears to come from Google Drive or DropBox claiming someone has shared a file with you. The file may appear to be from someone you know, be sure to click on carrot next to the name to see if you recognize the email address.
Check this out! - We often get an email from a friend sending a funny joke or image, but beware! Hackers often send you an email with a friend's. The name is the same, but the email address underneath is different. Clicking the image or link can start a download of a file onto your computer to cause damage.
Technology moves and changes so quickly that it is often hard to keep our private information safe using the tools we have. Thus, it is important to learn about the dangers that lurk in our inbox. Thomas Jefferson said "Knowledge is power". Using technology requires us to be watchful and mindful in protecting our personal information.