Kristin here, writing from the desk of Holland America’s elegant explorer the MS Prisendam on the beautiful island of Barbados. Today I would like to discuss the term “phishing” and how to spot these fraudulent emails, phone calls and website.
How many of us have recieved emails from our friends saying that they’ve been mugged in London and they need us to wire them $5,000 to get a new passport, plane ticket etc. Or that Nigerian prince who needs investors for his oil firm. Or even an email from the Red Cross, Delta Airlines, American Express and other widely known brands that say they need our personal information to continue on with providing service. Many of have experienced these “phishing” emails before. These emails are trying to “hook” our information to use for nefarious purposes.
Here are some things to look out for when you recieve emails.
1.) Bad Grammar – A lot of these scam emails originate from outside of the United States so check for incorrect sentence structure and spelling.
2.) Links in the email – Beware of them! If you see a link in an email that you are suspicious of….don’t click on it.
3.) Fake Alerts – Be very wary of recieving alerts through your email that you security has been compromised. Phishers usually use this style of threatening end the hopes that you will follow their directions to input your information.
4.) Phony Graphics – Its very easy to take graphics from accredited companies and make you think that when you click on that graphic that it will take you to that companies website, but it doesn’t.
5.) Strange attachements – If you have recieved an email from a contact that has never sent you an email with an attachement in their lives or the title of the attachement is strange, email your contact back to inquire about the attachement before opening it.
6.) Check the from field – Phishers can easily spoof authentic email addresses, making it appear that an email is coming from an authentic, trusted sender, but checking the “from” field can at least help you identify unsophisticated phishers. If the “from” email contains excessive characters, has spelling mistakes, or does not share the same domain as the company (e.g. “@gapcustomershelp.com” (illegitimate) vs. “@gap.com” (legitimate)) you might have found a phish.
7.) Go with you Gut – Its usually correct, if you gut is telling you that something seems a little fishing…its probably because it is “phishy”
Hope this helps
Cheers from the Prinsendam,