4 Common Clues of Phishing
While best books on cyber warfare has become more sophisticated over time, you can often tell when an email is a scam by examining the content. For example, an unfamiliar tone can be a warning sign that a phishing attack is underway. Messages that sound off-color or unprofessional typically come from cybercriminals rather than a business you trust.
Another clue is if the message uses generic salutations like “Dear Customer” or “Dear Valued Member.” Cybercriminals use these types of greetings to maximize their number of victims. They also tend to include links that take you to fake websites designed to steal your personal information or download harmful malware on your device. To avoid falling for these fake sites, always hover your mouse over the link before you click it to make sure it goes where you expect it to go.
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Other red flags to look out for include spelling and grammatical errors. Professional companies usually hire copywriters and use a spell checker for official messages. Similarly, most legitimate businesses have their domain names registered with the organization they represent. If an email address doesn’t match the purported affiliated company, that’s another clear indicator of a phishing scam.
Also, any message that asks you to provide confidential data is a bad sign. A reputable business will never ask you to send your password or banking information in an email. Likewise, you should be suspicious of any email that claims you won a lottery or other contest you didn’t participate in.