Go Phish: Keeping An Eye On Your Email

Brian Bronikowski is a field service technician for Tech Experts.

Email phishing scams are nothing new in the IT world. There are always new messages coming through that seem more and more realistic. When you add this to your messages from princes, lottery winners, and investment requests, your inbox can grow rapidly.

There are a few ideas that phishing scams use, but there are also ways to look out for them.

There are a few different types of phishing on the Internet. Some will focus specifically on an organization or group.

Others are more generic. Some will take an idea that could apply to those with a certain attribute of family or business life. There are even attempts that pinpoint the “higher ups” in certain organizations and businesses.

So what are ways to notice these scams? A largely common way to decipher what’s real and what is not is the sense of urgency that these messages will have.

They require important personal information as quick as possible. This urgency is used to put your caution aside so you don’t lose out on whatever they are threatening.

These will also be very broad so it seems you’re not the only one receiving this message – and of course, you aren’t.

Either way if someone states they are deleting your emails, suing for some unknown offense, or offering part in a larger grouping of people, it’s likely that you need to take a minute and think about what’s really going on.

Another easy method that cannot be stated enough is the amount of spelling and grammatical errors.

Professional emails are generally well-groomed and checked over by the sender. Phishing scams, however, seem to have a commonality in that they never seem to read properly. These will have easily noticeable spelling errors.

You can also notice that sentence structure is off and it is very broken in general. While people can make spelling mistakes and others may not be the best proofreaders, there is always a need to be on the lookout for errors. In the scenarios where a business or group is targeted, there may be a few other steps to take.

Emails may be sent that were not expected by the receiver. Perhaps it is an event you did not hear about beforehand. Other times, and commonly as of late, there will be a document that the receiver was allegedly “expecting.”

Other times, they will use the tactics mentioned previously such as the urgency or broadness. While none of these are good to open, it is especially dangerous to open any attachments that are in the spam messages.

These can lead to ransomware and cryptoware infections that cost a lot more than the annoyance of seeing the messages.

Luckily, for all of these issues, there are ways to prevent the messages as a whole. Most large email providers will have some level of protection.

The messages will instead be directed towards your junk folder in hopes you won’t accidentally click on them.

For those that use hosted services, providers are likely taking further steps to prevent these messages. Tech Experts is one of these providers; we are able to host email and protect against a large majority of these threats.

Regardless of what you use for email services, it is always important to keep in mind what’s real and what’s too good to be true.

Keeping that in mind can be the deciding factor between infections, data loss, or identity theft.