The 9 tips below should help you recognize a phisher email.
1. Generic greetings. Many phisher emails begin with a general greeting, such as: "Dear member." If you do not see your first and last name, be suspicious.
2. A fake sender's address. A phisher email may include a forged email address in the "From" field. This field is easily altered.
3. A false sense of urgency. Many phisher emails try to deceive you with the threat that your account is in jeopardy if you don't update it ASAP. They may also state that an unauthorized transaction has recently occurred on your account, or claim they're updating their accounts and need your information fast.
4. Fake links. Always check where a link is going before you click. Move your mouse over it and look at the URL in your browser or email status bar. A fraudulent link is dangerous. If you click on one, it could:
· Direct you to a phisher website that tries to collect your personal data.
· Install spyware on your system. Spyware is an application that can enable a hacker to monitor your actions and steal any passwords or credit card numbers you type online.
· Cause you to download a virus that could disable your computer.
5. Emails that appear to be websites. Some emails will look like a website in order to get you to enter personal information.
6. Misspellings and bad grammar. Phisher emails often contain misspellings, incorrect grammar, missing words, and gaps in logic. Mistakes also help fraudsters avoid spam filters.
7. Unsafe sites. The term "https" should always precede any website address where you enter personal information. The "s" stands for secure. If you don't see https, you're not in a secure web session, and you should not enter data.
8. Pop-up boxes in an email are not secure. Don't enter personal information into them.
9. Attachments. Like fake links, attachments are frequently used in spoof emails and are dangerous. Never click on an attachment unless you know the person that sent it to you. Most people become infected by clicking on some sort of attachment that causes them to download spyware or a virus.