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We all receive dody emails in our inboxes which are designed to trick you into giving them your personal details. They often appear to come from a bank, PayPal, HRMC or even the police. Typically, they ask us to click on a link to update our details. Often, they warn of dire consequences if we fail to obey. They will close our account, it will cost us money, the police will come knocking on our door! etc.
It is therefore crucial that we know how to detect genuine emails from the fraudulent ones. Here a few rules to follow to help keep you safe from phishing attacks.
First rule: Requests for personal information
No legitimate organisation will ask for your social security, bank account or PIN number via e-mail. No matter how authentic these emails may look, please ignore them.
Second rule: Is the email addressed to you?
Is the message using your full name? I received a few messages claiming to come from banks or PayPal, but start “dear customer.” If it really is your bank or PayPal account, they will address you by name.
Third rule: Typing mistakes
Always ensure you look for typos or spelling mistakes.
Fourth rule: Clickable Web links in e-mails
Don’t trust links to Web sites in e-mails. What might look like a legitimate address is often linked to a third-party site that looks official, but is actually run by thieves and scammers. These are the fast track to identity and financial theft.
Fifth rule: Does it look official
Quite often scam emails do not look official i.e they are missing a company logo, they are poorly presented, do not contain any contact details etc.
Sixth rule Unexpected emails
Were you expecting an email from said organisation? If you signed up for an account a minute earlier, then you would expect it. If it turns up out of the blue, you need to be cautious.