One of the most common online scams comes in the form of fake emails. With email originally being one of the most popular ways to communicate using the internet (and it still is), it’s little wonder that cybercriminals use this medium to try and trick people into handing over their money or their personal details.

Multiple billions of emails are sent out by internet users every single day – that’s a lot of online correspondence. Many inboxes and junk email folders are filled with all manner of unsolicited emails each and every day. Some of these are harmless attempts just to acquire new business, but not all are so benign.

So, how can you tell if an email is some sort of scam?

Let’s take a look at some tell-tale signs so you can protect yourself from online fraud.

What Is a Phishing Email?

A phishing email is basically any form of fake email that is masquerading as either a real business entity, emulating an official email such as that from your bank, emails saying you’ve won money, emails telling you that you’ve received an inheritance and so on.

These emails will often use logos and language that you would see in a real email, only there are discrepancies, and we’ll take a look at some of these over the next few sections.

The Email Doesn’t Address You By Your Name

When you receive correspondence from an institution such as your bank or PayPal, the email will address you by at least your first name, or more often by your full name. This is an initial indicator that it’s a real email from the source.

On the other hand, if an email from a bank simply starts off with something like “Dear Valued Customer”, be very suspicious and don’t click any links within the email or open any attachments.

You Are Asked To Login Through the Email Or To Verify Your Account

These emails can come from many supposed sources, whether they are platforms you deal with or not. This type of phishing email attempts to get your login details to various websites, which can include internet banking.

The email will state that there’s some issue with your account, and that you need to login by pressing a button or link in the actual email. Other times they’ll say you need to verify your details to unlock your account by logging in through the email itself.

Poor Spelling and Grammar Are a Dead Giveaway

If you’re suspicious about an email you’ve received, but you’re not sure if it’s legit or not, take the time to read through it and check for strange grammar and spelling mistakes. Most phishing emails tend to be riddled with errors, as many of them originate in foreign, non-English speaking countries for one thing.

So, if it looks like an email from your bank that starts off with “Dear Customer”, and then you find the email is full of spelling errors and bad grammar, delete it ASAP and don’t click a thing inside the email.

Emails Asking for Personal Details Before You Can Receive Promised Funds

This could be one of those classic scam emails, where someone has died and left you a fortune, or a common email stating that you’ve won some online lottery. In order to collect the money, you must first provide your personal details.

Not only does this mean giving the cybercriminal your information, they’ll also usually request some sort of processing fee from you before you can get paid.

And of course, you’ll never get paid as this is simply a money-making scam for them that could also lead to identity theft.

IT Consultancy and Cyber Security Services Cairns and Townsville

As a business owner, one of your biggest risks is that your employees fall for a scam which could open your business up to detrimental threats and data breaches.

For cyber security consulting services in Cairns and Townsville, get in touch with the experts at Future Computers. You can discuss all your IT security concerns with us and have us implement systems and cyber awareness training to keep your business IT systems and employees safe from cyber attacks.

We also provide managed IT solutions, so if you require IT support in Cairns or Townsville, get in touch with our team today.