How to spot a scam email

There is alot of talk lately about “phishing scams” and most people dont really know what they are so we have decided to show you one … a really good one … and tell you how you can spot a fake email from a real one.

Q: What is a phishing scam?

A: Simply put – it is when a hacker sends you a genuine looking email from a fake email address in the hope that you will click on a link and make nasty things happen to your computer, tablet or phone.

Q: How can tell if an email is fake or genuine?

A: To be honest – its getting more difficult. But the basic rule of thumb is that if you were not expecting an email asking for money or information then be suspicious. If in doubt then contact the company directly  – never click on any links in the email – type the website address in directly.

Q: Are there any tell tale signs of a fake email?

A: Yes – here are the ones to look out for :-

  1. General email greeting – If the greeting comes with “Dear Customer” or “Hi There” instead of your actual name.
  2. Sense of urgency – Look out for wording that is calling for you to “act quickly” or “time is running out”.
  3. Bad grammar – Look out for simple spelling mistakes or errors in grammar.
  4. Dodgy links – Move your mouse over the link (never click) and if the address of the link is different from the company website.
  5. General salutation – Look out for a very general sign off from “Customer Support” with a specific persons name who you could contact.

Q: What else can I do? 

A: Two things – keep your antivirus right up to date – use a paid instead of free version especially for business computers. Secondly – if in doubt just delete the email. If its genuine and the company want to get back in touch with you – then they will.

Q: What happens if I have already clicked on a suspicious link?

A: At best you antivirus software might alert you that you are going to a suspicious website. At worst – it’s too late and hackers may have compromised your computer and you will need to run a full security scan and you should change any passwords.

So knowing all that here is a recent example of a phishing email that looked like it came from BT …. (but was 100% fake).

The above email is  an actual phishing email from a hacker is  not genuine. But emails from BT or any other company may be genuine – so look closely before clicking on any links.