Tips to Avoid E-mail Phishing Scams

Unfortunately, spam emails are nearly unavoidable, and many of us find ourselves deleting spam email every week or even every day. Though spam may continue to be something we have to deal with, that doesn’t mean that we have to fall for the tricks of spam. Phishing scams are most often email messages that try to pass off as legitimate emails in attempt to steal your personal data.

Many times, phishing scams may go unnoticed, so here are a few tips to help you spot these fake and potentially dangerous email messages.

  1. Who sent the email? Do you recognize the name?
    The first and most important step is to check the sender of the email. If you do not recognize the name, this should be the first red flag.
  2. If you recognize the sender, does this seem like the kind of email they would send you?
    For the most part, you know what type of email messages your contacts send you; even organizations. If this does not seem like an email the sender would send you, be cautious.
  3. Does it have an attachment?
    If the email you have received has an executable program file (with .exe file extension), this should definitely be a big red flag. No matter the sender, you should never open an EXE file attached to an email. Delete these messages immediately.
  4. Does the email ask for private or account information?
    If the email is asking for your login credentials or private information like birthdate or social security number, it is definitely a scam. No legitimate online service or website will ask you for your login information. You should delete these email messages immediately.

If you’re still unsure of whether the email you have received is a phishing scam, perform a Google search. Copy and paste the subject line of the email with quotes around it and browse the results. If you find any results that mention the word “scam” or “phishing” then you should delete the email. Often other internet users share their bad experiences with email that they have found to be problematic.

Always be cautious on the web and keep these tips in mind to best avoid falling for email phishing scams. If you have any other tips to help email users avoid scams, please feel free to share in the comments below.

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