Known email threats

Phishing and fake websites

Phishing is a type of online fraud that involves getting an individual or organization to disclose sensitive information. The acts of attempting to acquire personal information such as passwords and details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Users are often attracted by communications purporting to be from trusted parties such as social web sites, auction sites, banks, online payment processors or IT administrators.

Spotting and reporting fake emails

How can you identify a fake email?

Here are a number of ways to identify a genuine email:

  • Usually most of the fake email addresses will contain random numbers, misspelled words, and a mix of lower and uppercase letters. This can be identified when you expand the pane at the top of your email and then you will find the exact email of the sender.

  • If you receive an email stating that you need to update your user account, then firstly ask yourself whether you have an account with that particular brand. Secondly whether that is the exact email you have set up for that account, or whether you use another email address?

  • A reputed company would not email you asking for your personal information (passwords, pin codes, bank account or personal information).

  • Can you win a competition that you have not even participated in? If you are unsure about these kinds of emails, then it is always best to contact that company and ask if it is genuine.

  • The email will have a sense of urgency, trying to get you to do something fast.

How to protect yourself against scams

To identify the difference between a genuine site and a fake site is not easy. Especially when the email is from a company you recognize. Therefore, think before you click.

  • When you receive an email saying there is a problem with your online account then go to that website directly (not using the link you got in the email) and log in to check.

  • If your email is giving you constant prompts such as “If you don’t update your password now then your account will be closed” immediately verify the website or call their customer services to check the problem.

  • Don’t click or reply to any of the attachments that you receive.

  • Make sure you have spam filters turned on through your email provider. This will automatically put emails from unknown sources into junk folders.

  • Add the email addresses of any suspicious emails to your block sender lists to effectively stop receiving suspicious emails again.

  • Make sure you have a trusted virus protection software which is up-to-date. Create strong passwords that are unique and different from each other.

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