Phishing scams have been running rampant in recently, all too often taking hundreds of thousands of innocent victims to the cleaners and leaving them red-faced and with little to no money left in the bank.
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In order to stay protected from these seriously scary scams, you need to know what to look for. Today, I'll show you five different types of phishing scams to be aware of and point out all of the red flags.
Are you ready?
Scam #1: Deceptive Phishing
Deceptive phishing is when a scammer will pose as a legitimate business, like Amazon, in an email in order to get you to cough up sensitive information, such as your login for that site, as well as your password.
Need some examples?
It's happened numerous times. For starters, scammers have posed as the IRS, Apple, Amazon, Home Depot and Microsoft, all saying you need to log into the site, using the link they provide, to fix whatever went wrong with your account.
What to look for:
- The "From" address. If the email address is from any type of address that looks like "firstname.lastname@example.org" or anything similar, delete the email immediately.
- Grammar. No matter how much it gets proofread, any company is going to occasionally send out an email with a spelling or grammar error. Fine. But phishing emails often contain glaring and obvious mistakes that you can catch without being a copy editor. Awkward phrases, missing punctuation and wrong capitalization are just a few places to start.
- Formatting. Are the paragraphs in the body of the email formatted correctly? Are some random words in bold? Are there extra spaces? Are there images included that don't make sense?
- In-body links. Remember that NOT ONE legitimate company will provide links for security issues. If there's a problem, the company will ask you to head directly to the company's website and enter your information there, rather than provide you a link to follow. You can also hover your mouse over the link to see where it really directs you. You'll discover that these links actually infect your computer with dangerous malware - all with just one click. As a rule of thumb, don't click any links if you think the email is suspicious.
- Non-corporate phrases. When was the last time you received an email from a major corporation that ended with "God bless you"? Remember, this isn't an email from your aunt. It's supposed to be from a multibillion-dollar international company that isn't going to risk offending anyone. Also, make sure there's a signoff as scam emails have often just ended.