The most common indicator of a phishing attempt is an email that looks like it’s from a legitimate source but is actually from a malicious actor.
The email may contain a fake logo or other branding elements from a legitimate source and may even use the same email address domain.
The email will usually contain a link to a fake website that looks identical to the legitimate website but is actually designed to steal login credentials or other sensitive information.
What is Phishing?
Phishing is a fraud attempt to obtain sensitive information such as passwords, credit card numbers, or account information by disguising oneself as a trustworthy source in an email or other communication.
Common indicators of a phishing attempt
Below is a list of some of the common indicators of a phishing attempt. However, be aware that malicious actors are becoming smarter day by day.
With the increase in automation software nowadays, it has become much more difficult to spot a phishing attempt than it was a few years ago.
The email uses threatening or urgent language
“We regret to inform you that your account will be suspended unless you verify your identity within the next 24 hours. To avoid suspension, please click here to update your account information.”
Some phishing emails try to trick users into clicking on a link or opening an attachment by creating a sense of urgency.
They may claim that there is a problem with an account or that some type of action needs to be taken immediately. This can be an effective tactic, especially if the email appears to come from a trusted source.
Sometimes the email may have come from your friend or relative, and he may be asking for urgent help. This could be because the spammer might have access to your relative’s account or contact lists.
If an email contains threats or demands, this is a huge red flag that it is a scam. No legitimate company or individual is going to threaten you or demand money from you in an email.
Phishing attempts were reported by 83 percent of firms in 2021. In the year 2022, another six billion attacks are predicted.
The email includes a link to a suspicious website
Phishing emails often contain links that lead to websites that look identical to the legitimate website but are actually fake. The goal of these fake websites is to collect personal information, such as login credentials, from unsuspecting users.
The email has an attachment that you were not expecting
“We have noticed some unusual activity on your account, and we are concerned that your account may have been compromised. We recommend that you change your password immediately and run a scan on your computer with the attached software. If you have any concerns, please feel free to contact us.”
One of the most common ways that phishers will try to trick you into clicking on a malicious link or opening a malicious attachment is by impersonating a trusted sender, such as your boss or a company you do business with.
They may even spoof the email address of a trusted sender to make it look like the email is coming from them.
If you receive an email from someone you know with an attachment that you weren’t expecting or an email from someone you don’t know with an attachment, be cautious.
Don’t click on any links or open any attachments unless you are absolutely sure they are safe.
The email is from a sender that you do not recognize
If you do not recognize the email address that the email is coming from, this is a huge red flag.
You should never open an email from an unknown sender, especially if it contains attachments or links. These could be viruses or other malicious software that could harm your computer.
The email contains misspellings or grammatical errors.
If an email contains a lot of grammatical errors or misspellings, this is another sign that it is not legitimate. A legitimate company or individual is not going to send out an email that contains so many errors.
The email requests personal or sensitive information
“Your account is about to expire. To continue using our services, please click the following link and update your payment information.”
Phishing emails are designed to look like they come from a legitimate source, such as a company or organization you know.
They may even use the same logo or color scheme. The email will usually ask you to click on a link or open an attachment to update your account information, provide personal information, or confirm a transaction.
If you click on the link or open the attachment, you may be taken to a fake website that looks real. The website may ask you to enter personal or sensitive information, such as your bank account number, credit card number, or Social Security number.
Email ID, URL, and Domains
When you receive an email from a person, you will recognize the sender’s address.
But when you receive a phishing email, the sender’s email address may be is not a professional email address.
For example, the company name is “Google,” but when you receive the phishing email, the sender’s email address is “G0ogle@gmail.com”. In this case, you should pay attention to the sender’s email address.
The email address is usually the first thing that people look for in an email. If the email address is inconsistent or not genuine, people will immediately know that this email is not to be trusted.
Inconsistencies in email addresses often occur in phishing emails. The email address may not be genuine, or it may be an email address that the phishing attacker has set up to look like a genuine email address.
Inconsistencies in links and domain names are also common in phishing emails. The links in the email may not go to the genuine website, or the domain name may not be the genuine domain name.
What to look for:
- Inconsistent or fake email addresses
- Inconsistent or fake links
- Inconsistent or fake domain names
If you see any of these inconsistencies in an email, be very wary of it. It is likely to be a phishing email.
Why phishing awareness is important
Phishing awareness is important because it can help protect people from becoming victims of phishing scams.
If people are aware of phishing scams and know how to spot them, they can protect themselves from becoming victims.
Additionally, if people know what to do if they do receive a phishing email or text, they can help prevent others from becoming victims as well.
By increasing phishing awareness, we can help protect people from becoming victims of these scams.
Phishing attacks can be very costly for organizations, as they can lead to data breaches, loss of customer trust, and damage to reputation.
Therefore, it is important for organizations to have a phishing awareness program in place to educate employees about the risks of phishing and how to avoid becoming a victim.
How to defend against phishing
There are a few things people can do to help protect themselves from phishing scams, such as:
- Be suspicious of unsolicited emails or texts, even if they appear to be from a legitimate organization
- Never click on links or open attachments from unknown senders
- Verify the authenticity of an email or text message by contacting the organization it claims to be from directly
- Report phishing emails or text messages to the appropriate authorities