How to Detect a Phishing Email and What to Do With It

RapidVPN/ October 10, 2016/ Blog/

According to a recent study, the rate of phishing email attacks rose by over 162% between 2010 and 2014. This number has since increased as cyber criminals have come up with ingenious ways of achieving their heinous objectives. It is important to be vigilant of the emails that you decide to open once they land in your inbox.

Here are five tips on how to detect a phishing email and what you should do with it.

Don’t Click on Suspicious Links

One of the characteristics of a phishing email is that it contains links that are strategically inserted in the message. Clicking on the links will transfer your personal information to the scammer. Therefore, it is recommended not to click on links that are embedded in the email if it looks weird or suspicious.

Spelling Mistakes

Email marketing being one of the most commonly used marketing strategies by brands; they are keen on making sure that their messages are error free. Ideally, legitimate email messages do not contain poor grammar or major spelling mistakes. Read the email and mark it as spam if it contains gross spelling errors that look intentional. According to a report done by Tech Republic, most phishing emails are riddled with grammatical errors and typos.

Check the Salutation

Legitimate brands will use a personal salutation such as your first or last name. Stay safe by not opening emails that have vague greeting such as general words such as “Valued Customer”.

Urgent and Threatening Language in the Subject Line

One of the tactics that scammer use is creating fear and a sense of urgency to lure the target audience to click on a link or submit personal information. Some of the commonly used subject lines are “account has been suspended” or “you need to update your account information immediately”.

Evaluate the Display Name

Cyber criminals have mastered the art of spoofing the email display name in a bid to make the email look legitimate. A study conducted by Return Path showed that 760,000 phishing emails that were targeting unsuspecting clients’ spoofed major brands by including the official name of the company as the display name. Evaluate the email address header and if it looks amiss do not open the email. Instead, highlight it as spam and delete it immediately.

These are the five proven ways of detecting phishing emails. Be sure to contact the email service provider to protect other users from being scammed.