How to Catch a Phish
Phishing occurs when cyber criminals send forged emails to trick you into clicking fraudulent links or providing valuable information. To avoid falling victim to this increasingly common cybercrime, check your emails for these 4 signs of a phish:
- A Mismatched URL: The URL or link included in a phishing email often appears per-fectly safe. However, it is easy for cyber criminals to disguise a fraudulent link. A simple trick to test if the link is valid is to hover your mouse over it. If the address hyperlinked in your email is different than the one that now appears above your mouse, you may have caught a phish.
- Spelling and Grammar Mistakes: Before hitting send, marketers from Apple, Nordstrom and other large companies will review the contents of their emails for spelling and grammar errors. It is unlikely that any reputable company will include these mistakes in a promotional email, so often times, a mistake can signify a phish.
- Requests for Personal Information or Money: A reputable company should never ask for your personal information, passwords, card numbers, security questions or other identifying account information via email. Similarly, it is also unlikely that a reputable company will ask for payments via email. Phishers, on the other hand, will eventually ask for money. Some fraudsters may even make threats or use intimidation to scare their victims into complying, but don’t be fooled!
- Something Just Seems "Off." Trust your instincts. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you did not initiate the contact and wonder why you received the email, trust your gut. If something just doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t and you should avoid acting on the message—you may have caught a phish.