1. Email From A Financial Institution

Look very closely at email messages that appear to be from your bank, PayPal, your credit card company, your mortgage company, or any other place that says they have your money. Impersonating a financial institution is one of the most common forms of phishing.

The best way to spot these is to look at the return address. Does it exactly match the domain of your financial institution? Banks don’t typically ask for personal information through email. Don’t click on any links in the message. Be sure to log in to your account using the secure link you have used in the past.

When in doubt the best thing to do is give your bank a call. Recently my bank actually did email me to warn of fraudulent activity on my account. I didn’t click the links they provided, but I did call them right away and they confirmed the information sent in the email. You can bet I let them know email was not the best method of notifying a customer of fraudulent activity in their account.

  1. Email Asking You to Verify Your Account

If you receive an email asking you to reply with account information such as your login information, password, bank or credit card information, or even to just update your account information, you should ignore it and delete.

Legitimate businesses will never ask you to send sensitive information through email. If you need to update account information you will be notified when you log in to your account.

  1. Email With an “Invoice Attached”

It’s important to always be careful when opening email attachments or clicking links. This is typically how spyware and malware get into your network. Granted you may be expecting an invoice or a link from a business, but if you’re not, it’s best to delete email with attachments. You can also set your email browser to block  attachments, so you can’t accidentally open them.

Verifying the the sender of email is a trusted source before opening any attachments or clicking links is always a good practice.

  1. Email with “RE:” in the Subject Line

Putting “RE:” in the subject line of an email is a tactic to get you to think someone is replying to you. These always cause me to take a second look even when the rest of the subject line is unfamiliar. Take a look at who the email is from and whether the subject is familiar, after all if they’re really replying to you that means you wrote it!

Oftentimes these aren’t necessarily malicious, they’re just trying to sell you something, but it’s always important to be cautious. Even if they’re not phishing, these emails can be annoying and clog up your inbox. If you don’t recognize it, you can delete it without wasting time opening it.

  1. Email With a Ton of Typos

Many phishing attacks come from overseas and the people writing these emails often don’t speak English very well, if at all. If you see an email that is full of typos or contains strange wording that’s a sign it may not be legitimate.

The messages will usually have missing words, misspellings, or extremely poor grammar. You may also see words that aren’t commonly used particularly in salutations and closings.

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