A phishing e-mail is a phony e-mail that is designed to look like a real request from a contact/company you trust in an effort to get you to give up your login information or to click and download a virus.
Often these e-mails look 100% legitimate. They show up in the form of a PDF, UPS or FedEx tracking number, Facebook alert, bank notification, etc. That’s what makes these so dangerous – they look exactly like an e-mail you would normally get. This begs the question, how can you tell a phishing e-mail from a legitimate one? Here are a few signs that should sound the alarm.
First, hover over the URL in the e-mail (DON’T CLICK!) to see the actual website you’ll be directed to. If there’s a mismatched or suspicious URL, delete the e-mail immediately. (Pro Tip: It’s good practice to always go directly to a site rather than clicking on a link in an email to get there.) Another giveaway is poor grammar and spelling errors. These cybercriminals tend not to be English majors. Another warning sign is that the e-mail is asking you to “verify” or “validate” your login or asking for personal information. Why would your bank need you to verify your account number? Trust me they have it and know exactly who you are. This isn’t Monopoly, there are no bank errors in your favor… And finally, the golden rule, if the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Now I can’t confirm if Nigerian princes exist, but if they do I can guarantee they aren’t giving out their fortunes to the next 10 people that email them back.
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