As cybercriminals are getting smarter and their phishing skills are getting better, assuming yourself clever enough to recognize phishing scams would be your worst mistake. According to Verizon’s data breach investigation report 2016 , around 305 of phishing emails get opened that makes it popular among other critical hacks.
Here are some tips to recognize phishing emails to prevent from becoming a victim to such severe and clever attack:
Expect the unexpected:
According to a report from Wombat Security in 2016, the most victorious phishing attacks were camouflaged as something an employee was expecting, like a document, a shipping or payment confirmation or a change password request that looked like it came from the IT department.
Make sure to analyze any such emails before you download attachments or click on any included links. Recall and make sure that did you really ordered anything and expecting a confirmation email? Did the email come from a store you usually order supplies from? If not, it's maybe a phishing attempt.
Moreover, don't be uncertain to call customer services, HR department or IT department to verify that the email you received is legitimate. However, it's better to be safe than sorry.
There are many fraudulent promotional emails that can be used to redirect user to malicious websites or ask their personal details. So, if you receive any email or a message from an unknown source that is directing you a website, be cautious, especially if the person is urging you provide your personal or credential details.
However, lawful organizations never ask you for your personal or credential information via instant message or email. So, this is a huge red flag.
Don't click on unrecognized links:
Usually, phishing scams attempt to convince users to provide username and password to gain the access to your online accounts. From that the consequences could be worse; your bank login detail can leave you with the empty bank account. While in the case of email access, the attacker can read or write an email from your account.
The links can redirect you to some recognized web page, but make sure the URL is correct. If the URL is different from the actual website, then it's probably a phishing attempt and you should not server or enter your details there.
Poor Grammatical Mistakes and Fonts:
It's obvious that a corporate communications department would send messages to its customer base after complete validation and checking it through multiple rounds of spelling and grammar checks, editing and proofreading. If the email you receive is contains such errors, it's a scam.
Also, watch for the generic greeting text like “Mr.”, “Ms”, “Sir” or “Dear”. Such greeting makes an email suspicious, as most companies would use your name in their email greetings.
"Action required!" "Your account is closed!" "Your account has been compromised!" These pressure building strategies are becoming more common. Attackers are taking benefit from your anxiety and fear to make you open their emails and provide the acquired information. Don't hesitate to call your bank or financial institution to verify if something just doesn't seem right.
However, eliminating the phishing scam is not possible. But, preparing yourself to identify such email is essential and effective at the same time. The attackers are developing new strategies to trick users to open their malicious links, so only self preparedness is the only way to prevent and defeat them. Moreover, there are many other techniques as well to identify such threat, but these are some common and effective techniques to identify phishing emails.