How To Tell If An Email Is Fake Or Legitimate
Being able to determine legitimate versus scam emails can save your company hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. All it takes is one employee or staff to open a suspicious email attachment or click on a malicious link and your network could get infected with whatever malware was enclosed. But if you know what to look for, you will be able to fend off any potentially-malicious emails sent your way.
Phishing Scam Checkpoints
If the email in question fails any of the checkpoints below, it is likely a phishing email. Forward the suspicious email to your IT administrator and follow their instructions.
From Email Address
First thing you want to know is the From email. Is it coming from a trusted domain? Do you recognize it? Just because you recognize the From name does not mean it really came from a trusted email.
Tip: With your mouse, hover over the From name to see the exact From email.
|If the From email is unfamiliar, DO NOT CLICK ON ANY LINKS! Notify your IT administrator immediately and follow their instructions.|
Always be suspicious of emails looking like banks or other major institutions. Pay attention to the personalization. Are they using your first and last name? Does it look cookie-cutter? Does the email include anything specific to YOU, such as the last 4 digits of your bank account or reference number?
|If the email appears to have been sent in bulk, and not one you have subscribed to receive, DO NOT CLICK ON ANY LINKS!. It is likely a scam email.|
Grammar mistakes and typos are the easiest way to tell if the email is a scam, especially if you do not recognize the sender personally or professionally. To confirm, forward the suspicious email to your IT administrator for a second opinion.
|If there are multiple typos in an unfamiliar email, forward the suspicious email to your IT administrator for a second opinion.|
The more sophisticated phishing emails are designed to create the illusion of reality, which we like to call Hyperlink Manipulation. They may appear legitimate visually but the link destinations are suspicious or unclear. When you spot hyperlinks in an unfamiliar email, hover over it and take note of the domain beside the mouse or in the lower left corner of your screen.
Tip: With your mouse, hover over the link see the exact destination.
|If the domain is unfamiliar or NOT where the email is supposed to take you, DO NOT CLICK ON THAT LINK! Notify your IT administrator immediately and follow their instructions.|
Are you expecting an email from this organization? If not, be wary. Why would they be contacting you in the first place?
|Be skeptical of every incoming email.|
Hackers and scammers like to create a sense of urgency and panic so you do as they say and act on emotion. Don’t fall into their traps! No self-respected bank or government agency will ever ask for sensitive information directly via email.
|If you sense urgency coming from an unfamiliar email, notify your IT administrator for a second opinion.|