Phishing Emails: How to Spot Them

Phishing Emails: How to Spot Them


Sometimes, criminals use advanced hacking techniques and cutting-edge technology to steal information from corporate server banks. Most of the time, though, they just send a phishing email and hope someone takes the bait. The vast majority of cybercriminals are pretty low-tech, it turns out.

So, how can you spot phishing emails, and what should you do when you see them? Let’s take a look at the telltale signs of a scam email and how you can avoid them in the future.

Check the Sender

First, look at the person sending the email. If the name is someone you don’t know or a misspelled version of someone else’s name, then you’re probably best just ignoring the email. Scammers like to make email addresses that are only a few characters off of existing accounts, especially if they’re targeting the employees of a specific company or a particular individual’s friends. 

It’s best to avoid opening emails from any unusual-looking sources. If someone important needs your attention, they have better ways to reach you than through an odd-looking email address. 

Be Selective

If you do open a bizarre-looking email that purports you need to take immediate action, be selective about clicking on any links. Usually, links included in emails from unknown senders are a surefire way to get phished. Often, criminals will create fake versions of existing sites to get you to put your username and password in without realizing you’re handing the information over to hackers.

Hackers love this kind of attack because it’s very low-effort on their part. For them, these phishing attempts are ideal because often their victims don’t know they’ve been hacked until it’s too late. To be safe, just avoid opening any links in emails. Instead, if you get an email that claims you need to take action on some site, just navigate to the site through your web browser and check it from there.

Never Open Attachments

It might sound extreme, but you should never open any email attachments unless you’re positive they’re coming from a reputable source. Attachments can include harmful virus programs like spyware that can swiftly cause harm to your computer. Often, this spyware exists in the form of keyloggers, programs that record your keystrokes to tell hackers what you’ve been typing.

If you get an email from someone you trust and it includes an attachment, contact them through another medium just to make sure they’ve emailed you a genuine attachment. Otherwise, you could inadvertently download malware.