Phishing is one of the oldest and easiest ways to get access to a username, password, and other personal information. The phisher acts as a company or person you are familiar doing business with, such as a bank, an online shopping site and more. Chances are you have come across hundreds if not thousands of phishing e-mails that are filtered out by your e-mail provider over the years. A few of them may have even made it through that filter to your inbox.
Whether you have been tricked by a phisher or simply want to prevent it in the future, we have five easy to learn tips to help prevent your information from getting into the wrong hands.
#1 Check your headers
Whenever you receive an e-mail from a person or entity you interact with every day, you always want to check your headers. Specifically, you want to check the e-mail address it came from. Most phishing attempts are over the moment you do this.
In this example, we have received a phishing e-mail from “YouTube Administration.”
When you take a look at this e-mail address, you can quickly see this did not come from YouTube. If you do not recognize the e-mail address, you want to be careful. You may not be dealing with the real thing. This should be your first clue that something is not right with the e-mail you are reading.
#2 Check your links
If you are not 100% sure you are being phished, move on to checking the links. Never, ever click the links in an e-mail if you are not sure it is from a trusted source. This can lead you to a dummy website filled with spyware, malware and other potential viruses.
Hover over the link in the e-mail. Most e-mail providers or clients let you see what the address is.
For example, this is the e-mail we have. We are looking at it in Mozilla’s Thunderbird.
Now, at the bottom left, when we hover over the link to “YouTube,” we see that is directing us to a website that is definitely not YouTube.
This is a clear indicator that you are being phished by someone.
#3 Follow up with the website or sender without using the e-mail
Perhaps by now, you are still not convinced or other signs do not indicate that the e-mail is a clear cut case of phishing. If this is the case, you can contact the website or e-mail send directly the way you always would if you initiated contact. This could be by phone or e-mail. Never hesitate to reach out to a sender or website directly. They welcome users or recipients being caution over being conned.
Is phishing still an issue for e-mail users?
Every day countless e-mail users are still falling for phishing e-mails. This leads to bank accounts being drained, credit cards being maxed and identities being stolen. It can be a nightmare to handle, clean up and fix, especially when it comes to your identity online. By utilizing these three easy to remember tips, you can always avoid being phished to the best of your ability. Take the time to realize where your e-mails are coming from and what they are asking you to do before you follow blindly. It may just save your identity.