As a business owner, you and your employees are likely to receive numerous emails on a daily basis. While most of these emails are harmless, some may be phishing attempts. Phishing is a fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card numbers, by disguising it as a trustworthy entity in electronic communication. These attempts are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and it's important to be able to spot them in order to protect yourself and your business. In this blog post, we'll share some tips for detecting phishing emails.
- Check the sender's email address
The first step in identifying a phishing email is to check the sender's email address. Phishing emails often have a fake or spoofed email address that is designed to look like it's from a legitimate source. Check the email address carefully to see if it matches the domain of the company it claims to be from. For example, an email from PayPal should end in @paypal.com. Crafty phishing attempts can change the domain name slightly to paypaI.com (the L is actually an uppercase i). The best bet is to go to the website outside the email and not click any links from emails.
- Look for spelling and grammar errors
Phishing emails are often written in poor English, with spelling and grammar mistakes. This is because they are often sent from foreign countries where English is not the first language. If an email contains multiple errors, it's likely a phishing attempt. There is a new trend to use AI-based creators that may make it harder to find phishing attempts this way.
- Don't click on links or attachments
Phishing emails often contain links or attachments that are designed to steal your information. These links and attachments may be disguised as legitimate ones, so it's important to be cautious. Before clicking on any links or attachments, hover your mouse over them to see if the URL matches the one it claims to be from. If it looks suspicious, don't click on it. The best bet is to go directly to the site outside of the email.
- Be wary of urgent or threatening language
Phishing emails often use urgent or threatening language to try to get you to act quickly. They may claim that your account has been compromised or that you need to update your information immediately. If you receive an email like this, don't panic. Instead, take the time to carefully review it and determine if it's legitimate.
- Use anti-phishing software
There are a variety of anti-phishing software programs available that can help detect and block phishing emails. These programs use algorithms to analyze incoming emails and determine if they are phishing attempts.
By following these tips, you can help protect yourself and your business from phishing attacks. Remember to always be cautious when opening emails, and if you're ever unsure about an email's legitimacy, don't hesitate to reach out to the company directly. It's always better to be safe than sorry.
For more information on how to protect yourself from phishing attacks, check out the following resources:
- The Anti-Phishing Working Group - https://www.antiphishing.org/
- The Federal Trade Commission's guide to avoiding phishing scams - https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/how-recognize-and-avoid-phishing-scams
- The National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center's tips for avoiding phishing attacks - https://www.cisa.gov/news-events/news/avoiding-social-engineering-and-phishing-attacks
- Microsoft's guidance on protecting against phishing attacks - https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/protect-yourself-from-phishing-0c7ea947-ba98-3bd9-7184-430e1f860a44