How to Identify and Avoid Phishing Email Scams
Have you ever been sent a suspicious-looking email? If you have, then you aren’t the only one. Roughly 15 billion phishing emails are sent every day and 30% of them are opened. If you aren’t sure on what it is, Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails claiming to be from reputable companies in order to tempt individuals to reveal personal or financial information. Knowing what is and is not a phishing email could help you protect your information and keep your computer safeguarded. Peoples Security Bank is here to provide you some suggestions on how to recognize and prevent a phishing email scam.
How to Identify a Phishing Email
Trying to identify whether an email could be phishing or legitimate can prove to be difficult. Scammers may include the name or logo of the organization they are attempting to impersonate. The email can look very sophisticated. Usually, the phishing scam may ask you to do an easy and reasonable task such as updating account information or redeeming a prize winnings. However, there are a few criteria that may make it easier to tell if you’ve received a phishing email:
- Email Address – Check to see if the sender’s email address is misspelled or you don’t recognize it (ex. Replytoemail@AAmazon.com).
- Subject Line – Does the subject line of the email have an urgent alert message or reward (ex. “ALERT MESSAGE – You’ve locked out of your account.” or “CLAIM PRIZE NOW!”).
- Greeting – Is the greeting generalized or does not have your name? ( “Dear Sir”).
- Message – The email message has a lot of spelling and grammatical errors. “By using advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and other techniques, spelling and grammatical errors are less common in phishing attempts. It isn't safe to assume an email is legitimate if there are no obvious mistakes,” says Kitrina Kanaris, Senior Vice President, Information Security Officer.
- Don’t Click on any suspicious links or attachments that may have been sent. Navigate to the known website or app directly to login and check for any account specific messages you may need to respond to.
Take these steps seriously as sometimes a phishing email can be difficult to detect, especially on a mobile device. Just a reminder that community banks like Peoples Security Bank will NEVER ask for your personal information through email. Email is not a secure method of relaying personal and financial data. If you are still not sure if an email you received is a scam, call the organization in question and inform them of the possible phishing email.
How to Avoid Getting “Phished”
If you receive an email that you strongly believe to be a phishing scam, do not open the message, click on links, or open any attachments. Any of these actions could potentially plant a virus onto your computer or device. The best solution is to delete the email, block the sender’s email address, and inform the organization that the scammers were trying to impersonate.