Many people have received suspicious emails over the course of their lives. People are familiar with the stereotypical emails that often ask people to send them money to help them out of a situation with a promise to send them twice the amount of money in return. While few people buy into these emails, email scams have been more sophisticated than ever. One of the classes of emails that people might have heard of are called phishing emails. They have received this name because these are emails that are “fishing” for people’s user IDs and passwords so that they can gain access to people’s bank accounts and drain their finances for their own personal gain. What are some of the strategies that these criminals use to trick people into sharing their confidential information?
Phishing Emails are Advanced
Many phishing emails used to look fake. They would present emails from addresses that people wouldn’t trust and wouldn’t craft an email that would sound real. Times have changed and these emails have become more advanced than ever before. For example, many emails use the logos from the bank that make people think the email is actually from their bank. The email address that these emails come from often have the same handle as the emails that come from a legitimate bank. They might even craft a professional email that sounds very convincing; however, these emails are fake. They trick customers into clicking on a link where they are taken to a page. There, they are asked to enter their credentials through a page that looks very similar to the actual bank; however, once people do this, their information has been sent to the hacker. Fortunately, there are a few strategies that people can use to avoid these scams.
Strategies to Differentiate Phishing Emails from Legitimate Emails
It is important that people understand that there are some strategies to differentiate between phishing emails and legitimate emails. A few of these are detailed below.
Visit the Website Directly
This is always the first step. Many phishing emails include a link to a website that takes people to a fake page that steals their information. Instead of clicking on the link, type in the web address directly and see if the email was being truthful. If the website doesn’t appear, then people know the email was fake; however, if the email was telling the truth, people know that the email was real.
Examine the Email Address Closely
Many people simply gloss over the email address assuming that if the handle sounds professional then the email is legitimate. Remember that these criminals are often sophisticated and work hard to come up with a convincing handle. Go and compare the emails from the actual bank to the questionable email received. If the email address is identical, the email is real. Remember that these emails are often different by only one or two characters.
Call the Company Directly
Ultimately, if there are any questions regarding where the email came from, call the bank directly and ask if they emailed you. Banks create records of every email that they send and receive. If they sent the customer an email, they will have the evidence on their end. Simply call them up and ask.