You open your email and see the subject line URGENT: Availability? from your boss or professor, and it seems like you should reply right away...

But not so fast...

It could be a PHISHING SCAM.

How do you avoid falling for the "phish"?

a blond woman winces

Check The Sender

You should first check that the email came from a legitimate source.

Even if you see the name of someone you know in the "From" section, you should also check for...

  • The domain name on the email

    What comes after the @ in the email? Is it spelled correctly? Does it match the other domains in your organization?

  • The sender's name

    Is their full signature included in the email? Is this how they normally sign emails?

  • The send time

    Was the email sent at a time when the sender wouldn't normally be working?

a man leans towards another man saying

Check The Content

Next, read what is being asked of you in the email.

Does the email contain...

  • A sense of urgency that doesn't make sense?

  • Bad grammar, misspellings, or unfamiliar greetings?

  • Attachments you MUST OPEN right away?

  • Hyperlinks to an unfamiliar website?

  • Requests for personal information, such as bank accounts, phone numbers, or even just your schedule?

A man holds an envelop and asks

Find The Phish!

A buffalo labelled

Which of these email examples might be phishing scams?

Example A.

Subject: URGENT: Availability?

From: YourBoss@yahoo.com

Example B.

Subject: You've won a giftcard!

From: 1249092@paypalls.com

Example C.

Subject: Password Expired

Text: Click this hyperlink to go to your password reset page!

Example D.

Subject: Overdue Invoice

Text: You have an unpaid invoice from Netflix.com. Click here to pay so your service isn't interrupted!

Quiz

Which emails are suspicious?

Take Action

A Star Wars storm trooper saluting. The text reads, Falling for phishing emails can result in ransomware attacks that can cost organizations millions of dollars!

If you're suspicious of an email, you should contact the sender directly to make sure it's legit.

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This Byte has been authored by

DP

D'Jeane Peters

Creative, Cross Cultural ID and HPT Practitioner