Five Red Flags: How To Spot Phishing Emails

In our last blog post we talked about how vulnerable small businesses are to being hacked. One key component to making sure your business and its employees/customers stay safe is to make sure everyone is educated on the potential threats out there. There are several ways a business stays vulnerable to hackers. A smaller business generally has weaker online security and deal with large amounts of their business online and through cloud type applications.

One way that businesses can fall prey to these types of attacks is through email phishing. Email phishing is a tactic used by hackers to gain access. It comes in the form of a seemingly normal looking email, but a single click inside the email can be the difference between a security breech and suffering a massive financial loss.

It is imperative employees and business owners alike stay current on the hacking trends and are educated on what red flags to look for.

5 red flags:

  • Poor spelling and grammar

Spelling and grammar errors happen to the best of us. However, an email with excessive errors is a clear warning sign that something could be off. Many companies check and recheck their newsletters and other marketing tools before sending them out to people. This is just something to be mindful of when reading an email.

  • An offer too good to be true

This one may seem obvious, but still needs to be said. Who doesn’t love something that is free? If someone is sending you an email claiming you won a gift or sum of money, take the time to fact check before clicking any links or giving away personal information.

  • Random sender who knows too much

Over the years, phishing has evolved to be more direct in their approach. Before, a mass email would be sent out in hopes that one or two people might click. Now, through social media and a life online, emails can be much more direct and full of details that would make you easily fall into it. If an email address is unrecognizable and the information in it doesn’t seem to add up to you, dig a little deeper.

  • The URL or email address is not quite right

Because hackers evolve as technology evolves, there tricks get more and more advanced. One area this is especially true is making emails seem like they are legit. When you get an email and the sender domain may appear to be accurate, but if you hover over the link (but don’t click!) and you can see where it is going to take you. If it doesn’t look right or something seems off, send it to the spam folder.

  • It asks for personal, financial, or business details

When an email asks for personal, business, or related financial information, this is a big warning flag. If you feel like there is potential for it to be a real request, you should be able to check it out through trusted means.

Education is a good defense strategy against hackers and to protect your business. It is not a standalone option though. Make sure that you have a solid anti-virus system operating and back up procedures in place just in case something ever does happen.