How to spot suspicious emails

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“How can I tell which emails look suspicious?”

The most popular method via email is called “phishing”, where hackers can collect pertinent data and information through emails that will trick the user into thinking they need to hand over names, passwords, account numbers, etc. These hackers will usually try to do so by mimicking a company’s email with the same logo and very similar content.

Be extremely careful when you receive an email that looks like it came from your bank, your credit card company, Apple, Microsoft, iTunes, Yahoo, Hotmail, Outlook, or any large company you might be affiliated with.

Cyber criminals will threaten users by telling them that their account will be blocked, suspended, or shut down if they don’t receive the sensitive information needed to access the account.

If you have received an email from a company or an organization, be sure to look for the following:

  • Spelling errors or bad grammar.
  • The user is addressed by “Dear customer” or “Dear member”, legitimate companies will most likely refer to you by your first name.
  • Links that they request the user to click on
    • Hover your mouse over the link (do not click on link) and notice the website address that pops up. Does it link directly to said website or company? Or is it completely different? If it’s different, its more than likely a scam.
  • Subject content seems suspicious.
  • Sender email address seems suspicious.
  • Any threats to shut accounts down.
  • Any warnings that accounts or subscriptions will expire.

You can usually report spam to your email service provider.