You know that feeling when something just seems a little bit off? On quick observance everything appears normal, but deep down you just have the feeling something is not quite right. Now this concept can be applied to many areas of our lives.
We can have that “gut feeling” something is off with our relationships, at work, with clients and even within our many forms of communication. One place that we tend to get complacent and not pay attention to our “gut feelings” is with our email communications. How often do we open an email and pay attention to every word? When was the last time we opened an email and thought “Sentence structure looks alright, content mostly makes sense, but something just doesn’t ‘feel’ right” about the message you just received? Maybe it’s early and you haven’t had your coffee yet, so you aren’t really “reading” any messages at all. It’s ok we won’t tell.
Honestly, do you pay attention to your email and the contents within? It is here in our complacency that we are hooked! And not hooked with a catchy and amazing deal that sells us on an amazing product. Hooked by the slippery scam known as phishing. Phishing is an effort to try and extract personal private information or money from you using fraudulent emails or text messages.
How do I know it’s a phishing email?
Like the many fish in our oceans not all phishing email looks the same. Some are very clearly fraudulent messages trying to steal your passwords or private identity information by parading around highly decorated. Others are more cleverly disguised and easily blend in with other normal email. They do not have the blaring warning signs that clearly mark them as fraudulent. These emails come from “contacts” or rather a very closely related contact and may even sound like similar communications you have received before. The major red flag is what this message is asking of you. Phishing email always is asking for money or information. The message may start off like it came from a friend, colleague or family member, but it will end with asking for money/gift cards or for you to respond with private information. You can also receive these “phishy” messages from what looks like larger recognized companies and government entities. Logos on websites are easily copied and made to look legitimate to use against you in a phishing campaign. When quick checking your email to see if it is phishing be sure to look for the following:
- Did it come from a recognized email address/phone number of a business or person you know?
- Does it contain a link to provide information or ask for you to respond with private information?
- Does it ask you to purchase gift cards/send money to someone?
- Does it contain grammar that follows the normal grammatical flow of messages you have previously seen from this person or company?
What do I do if I am “phished”?
If you suspect a phishing email swimming around your inbox the first step is to pay attention to the details of the message and ask yourself the four questions above. If the answer to any of those questions is “No” you have been “phished”. If the message has come from a reputable company you have dealt with before, call them and ask about the message. Chances are if it “smells phishy” it is phishing. There are other methods that can be taken to add protection to your system and help you to easily identify a phishing email before you get caught in the net. That is where TSI comes in. Our experienced technicians and engineers can fortify your system, so it stays safe and clear from any “hooks” the phishers try.