Have you ever been on the receiving end of a phishing email? According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, email phishing attacks were the most common type of cybercrime in 2020 with approximately 241,342 complaints. This is over double the number of phishing attacks that were reported in 2019. With the numbers skyrocketing in just a year, it’s safe to say that phishing attacks are here to stay. Having a top cyber security company in your car can help, but keeping yourself educated on the best ways to spot a phishing email 2021 is crucial. Let’s take a look at the top five ways to detect a phishing email.

The Top 5 Ways to Detect a Phishing Email in 2021

Are there inconsistencies in the email address and the domain name?

Here’s our first lesson in how to spot a  phishing email. Let’s say you get an email from Amazon. It might look legitimate at first glance because cybercriminals are good at disguising the more noticeable factors like fonts and logos but, take a closer look. One of the easiest ways to tell if an email is not legitimate is by taking a look at the sender’s email address. It might be from an email address that looks something like this: @amazon.mail.com or @arnazon.com. The hacker’s goal is to trick people into believing it’s from a real sender, like Amazon, so they can gain access to your accounts or sensitive data. If someone were to quickly look at an email, these mistakes might not be found. If you’re unsure about what the email address/domain name should be, look it up. For example, a legitimate email from Amazon will come from an @amazon.com email address.

Are you getting strange emails asking for sensitive information?

This is one of the most common ways to spot a phishing email. Receiving an email asking for sensitive information is a big sign someone is trying to scam you. If you’re receiving emails from companies requesting login information, payment information, or other sensitive data, do NOT give it to them. These emails might look authentic, but they’re not. Hackers will go to extreme lengths to make an email look genuine, but a legitimate company isn’t going to ask you to confirm or give them sensitive information over an email. If you do get an email that you are unsure of, leave it alone. Contact the company to double-check with them. They will be able to tell you if someone from that particular company has sent you an email or not. The company will also be appreciative you’re telling them that people are trying to scam consumers by saying they work for their company.

Are you receiving emails with suspicious attachments or links?

This  is another very common cyber security threat. Let’s say you receive an email from someone (or a company) and at the end of the email, there’s an attachment that you weren’t expecting to be there. Or in this email you’ve received, there’s a strange link they are telling you to visit. More than likely, this is a sign that it’s a scam. In cases like this, alarm bells should be going off for you. Clicking on a suspicious attachment or link could result in a virus or malware being installed onto your computer or network.

Is the message demanding urgent action?

A big red flag people should look out for is if the email is calling for the recipient to take urgent action. If the email you’re receiving threatens you with a negative consequence if you don’t answer in a certain amount of time, it’s a phishing email. Cybercriminals use this approach hoping that the recipient gets frazzled and rushed, and will respond in a way that they normally wouldn’t. Legitimate companies will never send emails threatening customers with a negative consequence if something isn’t done quickly. If you’re unsure, contact the company to see if it’s a real email. Chances are, it isn’t.

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In Conlusion – Best Ways to Spot a Phishing Email

Being knowledgeable when it comes to the dangers of phishing email scams and how to spot them is extremely important in today’s day and time. Keeping your information safe is of the utmost importance, so try to keep this motto in mind: when in doubt, throw it out. If you feel like it’s a phishing scam, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Hopefully this posts gives you a better understanding of the best ways to detect a phishing email.

Check out an infographic on 5 Ways to Spot a Phishing Email here.