Think you can spot a phony message a mile away? Test yourself! Which one of these messages is real and which one is a fake?
Feeling confident in your choice? Here’s the secret: both of the above images are scam messages designed to phish your email account. That’s right. Both of these very legitimate looking emails are actually the work of a hacker.
And if that didn’t scare you, this might: both of these emails made it through the built-in email security in Office 365. Even Microsoft couldn’t spot these bad-boys! The best defense is a strong offense, so we always recommend a cloud based email security service like the award winning Proofpoint to make sure these types of messages don’t even grace your inbox with their presence.
In the meantime though, how can you spot these type of sophisticated attack emails? Here’s three tips for not getting hooked by phishing scams.
1: Triple check that email address.
More often than not a phishing email address will look very close to the real thing, but still have something slightly off. For example, instead of a firstname.lastname@example.org address a scam email will come from email@example.com. Many scammers will also use a domain off by only a letter or two. Instead of getting an email from firstname.lastname@example.org you’d get one from email@example.com. Noticing that tiny shift can save you a major security headache!
2: Urgent action (not) required.
Emails requiring urgent action on threat of your account being shut down are also suspect. Watch out for phrasing requiring you to click an embedded link to prevent your account from being closed (or the IRS from beginning an audit).
3: Brush up on your grammar skills!
Emails containing grammatical errors or otherwise broken English are also almost certainly scams. Ever-changing tense, or addressing you in a non-traditional way, in the email is a good sign that something phishy is afoot.
Of course, the best way to prevent errant clicks in scam emails is to bar them from your inbox in the first place. That’s why for the month of October we’re offering FREE Office 365 migration with the added security bonus of a month of free Proofpoint email cloud security. Because do you really have time to triple check every email that comes your way?