Where technology seems to be busy sprinkling some fantastic benefits in our lives, on the flip side, things are not all bliss and glee. If technology has become our saviours in some ways, it has also let some people use it to manipulate others. The cybersecurity threat is legit and identity threat, online scamming, and hacking are real.
While you are busy doing online shopping and opening emails thoughtlessly, everyday many people become the victim of scams while doing these acts. And they have to face dire consequences in the form of loss of personal information or a hacked account. It sounds petrifying, but this is true, and before you become a victim of any malicious attacks like so, it is time that you level up your cybersecurity knowledge and protection game, to save yourself!
You can install Firewall software to prevent any virus from entering your system, but what about email phishing attacks? For example, you receive an email stating that your guarantor loans have been approved. You know you haven’t applied for any loan, but you still feel curious to see what it is about. And that’s when you get entrapped in an email banking scam.
Here are some ways to spot an email scam:
Asking for Your Personal Information
Email scams work in two ways. First, they add a link that redirects you to a fake website. In other words, that link is the trap that pushes you to reveal your essential information. Second, fraudsters try to install malware on your device to hack information. You are the one who has to be vigilant enough to avoid such attacks. So, here is the number one tip: your bank never asks for your personal information via an email.
If you receive an email from your bank, with your bank’s logo and everything else also seems professional, though in the email, they for example, ask for your phone number, mother’s maiden name, or credit card number, it is a red flag that something is fishy. Never ever give your personal information if you receive such emails, because they are NOT LEGIT!
Igniting Fear or Urgency
Check the tone of the message. Is it trying to ignite fear in you, so that you take the desired action immediately? Does the email have a threatening tone? For example, you have taken a loan, everything is documented, and debt return time is also set. But you start getting emails to pay off the loan as soon as possible, or your account will be closed, or some action will be taken against you. It is obvious that you will feel an urge to reply to this email out of panic, and that’s where your protective gear goes out of the window.
Banks are professional organisations, and they don’t try to cross professional lines by negating pre-set documented conditions. Don’t fall for such emails. It is better that you call your bank, instead of replying to that email.
Check Out the Email Address
Every person has a unique email, and no two people can have the same email address. That’s another helpful way to catch the criminal. Check the email address of the sender. If you have actually received an email from your bank, its email domain will match your bank’s signature domain. If this is not the case, it is a fake email. Simple! Besides checking the domain, don’t forget to check the spellings. Sometimes, fraudsters make fake email addresses by changing only one letter in the address. It is best practice, to make sure that you carefully scan the ‘from’ address before taking any action.
Having a Suspicious Attachment or Link
Phishing emails usually come up with suspicious attachments and links. They are the actual traps that take you right into the den of the culprit. Scammers try to embed links very smartly and contextually, making it hard to spot them. But spotting them is not rocket science!
For example, you might receive an email that you can take personal loans with a link to the source, from where you can get the loan. Banks also offer online services, so it is not something that isn’t possible. But before clicking it, hover the cursor over the link so that you can see the real hyperlink. If you feel that the link is directing you to something irrelevant or seems fishy, never open it.
Contains Grammatical Mistakes
Banks have professional and well-educated people who are experts in formulating emails. It isn’t hard to detect if an email has a professional touch or not. You can easily figure out the tone and style of the email. And above that, many scammers end up making grammatical mistakes. Even if the scammer has tried to come up with the best possible email body, the scammer still can’t be a pro. You may find a syntax, punctuation, or spelling error if you read the email carefully.
Living in a world all engrossed by technology and digital development is not easy. It is a huge world that is not always about surfing fun sites and having a fling with friends on social media. It is also a jungle where you might end up meeting furious hunters, who are sitting behind their screens after setting a trap for you.
It is difficult, but not impossible, to ditch scammers and have a peaceful online life without any signs of trouble. Next time, don’t click emails without giving a second thought or respond without having considered some of the aforementioned points. Be careful to avoid the hunters’ trap!