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How to spot a phishing email

One of the most common types of trying to steal sensitive information, phishing emails can convince even the savviest surfer. They aim to look like a legitimate email trying to elicit a response and usually guise themselves as an establishment such as a bank.

So, if phishing emails are hard to identify, what everyday things can you look for to make sure you aren’t their next victim.

  1. Authority

Does the email or message claim to be from an organisation, such as a bank or government department? Cybercriminals will often pretend to be someone important because they want you to force you into making an action like clicking a link.

  1. Urgency

Phishing emails will have an urgent nature about them. Criminals will often threaten you with fines if you don’t act in 24 hours or even immediately.

  1. Emotion

Whilst most phishing emails will make you panicked and fearful, containing threatening language, some criminals will also try to make you feel hopeful or even curious. Phishing emails can also produce false claims of ‘too good to be true’ deals, leaving you wanting to find out more. These emails could include concert tickets, the cure for a medical condition or money.

  1. Current Events

Current events, Coivd-19 being one of them, are also being exploited in phishing emails. Criminals are pushing out these emails because you would naturally expect to see something similar. A specific time of the year, like tax reporting or popular events, makes their scam seem more relevant.

​As well as looking at the content of the email, another way you can identify a phishing email is by looking at the sender. By hovering over or clicking the sent from link on the email this will give you the actual address that the email has come from. This will often be a completely different domain name to the genuine company that is being claimed to be the sender.

If you’ve received something like what we’ve described and thought it might be real, before clicking on any link, go to the organisations’ official website and give them a call. They will then be able to tell you whether the email is real or not.

From now on, it could be worth talking to trusted organisations, such as the bank, and get them to tell you what they will never ask for in emails. This information could be your password or account details.

While this blog gives you some great information on what you should look out for, you should always start trying to make yourself a more challenging target. As a business owner, training for your employees so they can spot these emails in the future.

LMS Group is Cyber Essentials PLUS accredited, delivering the UK government scheme that encourages businesses to guard against common cyber threats. Cyber Essentials Certification reassures customers that you take cybersecurity seriously, giving you a listing in the Cyber Essentials directory and the ability to attract new business with the comfort you have cybersecurity issues covered.

You can speak to us about getting accredited by completing the contact form.