There appears to be an increase in the volume of emails being received that are not what they seem, and these can contain a whole range of issues that you need to avoid. Many financial institutions and other companies continue to remind customers to be on the lookout for such emails, which are getting more sophisticated and harder to spot. The main email systems like Gmail and Outlook do manage to filter some of these, but not all, so here are some useful tips or reminders on what to look for.
Known as ‘phishing’ emails, these fake messages appear to come from legitimate companies or organisations, and are designed to trick you into clicking on a link or downloading a file. However, such an action could then lead to a range of potential problems, from a virus (that could take immediate action, or wait until a later time), to identity theft, or plain financial theft from your account.
You should therefore always be on the lookout for emails that may be unexpected, unusual or simply unwelcome, and before you go any further with any interaction, make a few basic checks to confirm any suspicions you may have, such as:
- The ‘From’ email address is not from the sender organisation’s domain and also you don’t recognise the email address.
- The email contains poor spelling and grammar.
- There are unexpected or unusual warnings, threats or requests.
- There are suspicious-looking URLs. Place your mouse over the link and check where the link is pointing to, without clicking on it.
- The email contains attachments with vague or generic file names. Never open suspicious attachments.
- The email is asking for credentials to be entered, such as an account number or password.
- The email doesn’t make sense and seems out of character.
- The email is asking you to do something you wouldn’t normally do.
So if you receive a message that seems unusual or suspicious, it’s usually in your best interest to avoid acting on the message and delete it.
Keep alert and good luck with your email management! If you want further help with identifying these type of emails, please get in touch.