How To Spot A Fake Email

November 6, 2018

 

Did you know that the average lifespan of a phishing site is under 15 hours? Such a small move, followed by such detrimental damage. Email attacks are part of the cyber-crime family and something the majority of us have come across at some point in our virtual lives. Un-solicited emails are conceived from slippery sources who may have purchased your contact details from a third party, prior to the GDPR regulation that was passed earlier in May 2018. These emails appear in all different shapes and sizes; some can be extremely realistic and convincing. Falling into the trap of fake emails is to say the least, a very fatal move.

What are phishing attacks?

Phishing attacks are a known, popular method of retrieving information from their target – like an elegant feline pursuing their prey. These are usually found within an email format, designed to trick you into handing over your sensitive details which will then be retrieved and stolen. These details range from passwords to bank details to security information, depending on what the cyber-criminal is after. They can be so cleverly set up and look identical to the pages that you regularly use and identify with, but hidden within the fraudulent features is a secret that intends to stay exactly that; a secret. Once your details have been obtained by your attacker, your money along with other critical information is at their complete freedom of use. Cyber-criminals are clever crooks and they can peck at your bank balance whilst you are none the wiser.

Have a quick look through your inbox… have you received any emails like this one?

Look carefully at the email… can you notice anything that looks off?

Keep looking…

Okay. To begin with, the first thing you should check when receiving an email like this one, is the sender’s email address.

As you can probably tell, this is not a genuine email address from Apple Inc. This can be a huge tell-tale sign that an email is fake and often the most reliable. If the email is perfectly put together and indistinguishable from others from the real company, this is usually a complete give away. Users generally make the mistake of viewing the subject of the email rather than checking the “from” domain. If you are unsure if the sender’s address is trustworthy or not, please check for previous emails from the company the contact is claiming to come from. Failing this, check the “Contact Us” section of their official website for their domain name.

Another important thing to look out for is spelling and grammar.

This space that you see between the word “information and the exclamation mark, would never exist if from a big brand like Apple, who have people proof-reading and examining every email and piece of content that is sent out to the public a fifty times over. The imbalance in the capital letters… The subject alone should be enough to ring an alarm in your mind that this is a fake email. Throughout the email you may notice spelling and grammar mistakes, or general unprofessionalism within the language or layout. Second guess everything!

The most crucial and lethal part of these scams… the embedded links.

These are what will make or break the future of your bank account, most likely. Links can take you to a website that will collect more information from you or install harmful software onto your machine.

Always check the full URL of a link to make sure it goes to the expecting place. Hovering over a link with your mouse usually displays full web address and if it’s not what you were expecting to see, do not click it!

What should you do if you have received a fake email?

  1. Do not click any links that are embedded in the email
  2. If you do click on the link, do not provide any information that the website is asking for
  3. Do not reply to the sender of the email in any way
  4. Do not open any attachments that may come with the email

 

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