How do I recognize a phishing email?

On Behalf of | Jun 5, 2020 | Federal Crimes

With more and more people working at home, computer crimes have taken on a special urgency. One way a criminal may try to breach your computer is to send you an email that looks like it comes from a source you know and trust. However, the email is actually designed to gather your personal and financial information, a tactic known as phishing.

Phishing emails can be very deceptive. Knowing what a phishing email is may help you avoid a phishing attack and could also assist you in the event someone accuses you of sending a fraudulent email. Forbes explains what to look for to tell if you have received an email from a malicious party.

Urgent emails

Usually, a phishing email contains an urgent message. It might claim that your account with a company is in danger of suspension unless you confirm your credentials through a link supplied by the email. However, companies almost never deactivate accounts if a user fails to respond to a request quickly. You might feel panicked upon receiving such a message, but it is better to remain calm and check the authenticity of the email.

Email links

Cyber criminals generally put in links in emails for you to submit your information. However, the link may go to a different place than what the email actually lists as its location. These links can be dangerous and expose your computer to viruses and malware. If you hover your mouse over the link, you may find a different URL than what the link actually says.

Fake email addresses

Phishing emails often have an email address that looks like one you recognize from a legitimate source, but chances are the email address is a spoof of an authentic email account. Also, the wording or the tone of the email might not match legitimate emails you have received in the past. The request made in the email might also strike you as strange.

The email may even come with a document file or program attached to it. These files can actually be dangerous programs that could infect your computer. You might avoid a serious breach of your financial information by checking with the alleged source to see if they truly sent the message to you.