Emails are a common way of communication, but they can also be a source of scams, phishing, malware, and other threats. How can you tell if an email is suspicious and what should you do if you receive one? Here are some tips on how to handle suspicious emails to keep you from falling victim to malicious emails.
- Check the sender’s address and name. Sometimes, scammers use fake or spoofed email addresses that look like legitimate ones but have slight differences. For example, they might use “email@example.com” instead of “firstname.lastname@example.org”. They might also use a name that sounds familiar or authoritative but does not match the email address. For example, they might use “Your Bank” as the name, but the email address is “email@example.com”. If you see any discrepancies or inconsistencies in the sender’s information, be cautious.
- Check the subject line and the message content. Suspicious emails often have vague, urgent, or alarming subject lines that try to get your attention and make you act quickly. For example, they might say “Your account has been suspended”, “You have won a prize”, or “You have an urgent message”. They might also have spelling or grammar errors or use generic greetings like “Dear customer” or “Hello friend”. The message content might ask you to click on a link, open an attachment, provide personal or financial information, or call a phone number. These are all signs of a potential scam.
- Check the links and attachments. If an email asks you to click on a link or open an attachment, do not do it unless you are sure it is safe and relevant. Hover your mouse over the link to see where it leads. If the link does not match the sender’s domain or the message content, or if it looks suspicious or unfamiliar, do not click on it. It might lead you to a fake website that tries to steal your information or infect your device with malware. Similarly, do not open any attachments unless you are expecting them, and you know what they are. They might contain viruses or other harmful software.
- Report and delete suspicious emails. If you receive an email that you think is suspicious, do not reply to it or forward it to anyone else. Instead, report it to your email provider, your IT department, or the organization that the sender claims to represent. You can also report it to the authorities or organizations that deal with cybercrime in your country. After reporting it, delete it from your inbox and trash folder.
By following these tips, you can protect yourself and your devices from suspicious emails and avoid falling victim to scams and frauds.
CISO/VP of Advisory
Secure Cyber Defense