10 Common Traits of Phishing Emails

Phishing is one of the most common attacks methods used by cybercriminals and the one we’re all probably most familiar with. Fortunately, there are signs that can help you identify whether or not that email in your inbox is a scam.

Asking for Personal InformationMost reputable organizations will never email you asking
for your address, phone number, national ID number, or
other personal data.
Inconsistencies in LinksAlways hover over links with your mouse pointer to display the
full URL. If it leads somewhere that doesn’t logically belong within
the context of the email, or generally looks nonsensical, don’t click!
Unrealistic ThreatsPhishing emails often feature threatening language, such as
“Payment overdue!” or “Your account has been compromised!”,
in order to generate a response from their targets.
Generic GreetingsUnlike legitimate entities that will address you by your full name
or username, phishing emails usually opt for generic greetings,
such as Dear Customer or Dear Sir/Madam.
A Sense of UrgencySimilar to unrealistic threats, emails that urge you to click on a link
or download an attachment or update your account immediately
are likely scams.
You’re Asked to Send MoneyWhether it be overdue taxes or an upfront payment to cover
expenses, any email that asks for money should immediately raise
your suspicions.
Too Good To Be TrueThe old saying remains true to this day: if it’s too good to be true,
it’s likely untrue. Keep that in mind any time you get an email
claiming you won the lottery or are due a large family inheritance.
Poor Spelling & GrammarMost generic phishing attempts contain spelling and grammar
errors or feature awkward wording/phrasing.
Suspicious AttachmentsAttachments aren’t always malicious, but use extreme caution
whenever you receive them unexpectedly.
From a Government AgencyIn almost every case, government agencies don’t use email to
communicate anything of consequence. The IRS, for example, will
never email you about your taxes or payments.

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