How to Spot SPAM or Phishing Emails
Spammers, identity thieves, and cyber criminals, unfortunately, are deviously smart. They will develop elaborate messages from companies you trust in order to steal your money, personal credentials, or personal information.
Your trust and relationship with MPW is often targeted. Whether calling you and demanding immediate payment over the phone or by purchasing store gift cards (we don’t do that), or threatening to cancel your email account if you don’t log in with your username and password (we don’t to that either) or trying to enter your home claiming they are “utility staff” (our employees and contractors will always have ID and you should always ask for ID), people with bad intentions are just hoping one person will fall for their scheme.
How can you not be “that one person”? Let’s focus on emails. We know it can be frustrating to get emails in your inbox that make it difficult to know, for sure, if an email is legitimate, or an attempt to steal your identity and/or money by cyber criminals.
We want to help you help yourself by learning some prevention methods to reduce your risk of falling victim to this type of crime with these 5 tips.
5 Tips to Check for SPAM or Phishing Emails:
- Is the email something you’re expecting? Whether it’s from a friend or a company/business, is it something normal or out of the ordinary you weren’t expecting? Do you even have service from the business that sent you the email, or does the person/company that sent you the communication normally communicate with you via email? If it wasn’t expected, look further – see Step 2.
- Check the email address – does it match who the send is?If it’s from a legitimate business, the email address shouldn’t come from a free email service, like Gmail, Hotmail, etc. and there shouldn’t be random numbers in the email address, either. The “who” should match the email address the email is being sent from. MPW EMAILS WILL GENERALLY ALWAYS COME FROM THE DOMAINS @MACHLINK.com or @MPW.org (unlike the one shown here)
- How does the email read? Check the greeting, first. Many spam/phishing emails will start with “Dear Sir/Madam” and are a huge indicator that you’ve got spam. If the content of the email has a lot of misspelled words, or the grammar sounds “off”, you should consider whether replying is a good idea and consider other methods of communication via phone, etc. as alternative ways to verify. Additionally, if the content of the email sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Are there links to verification methods, password resets, or other personal identification methods in the email?
Links in spam and phishing emails are a good indicator of spam, especially if you didn’t take an original action on the senders website or app that would have prompted you to receive these emails (like a password reset). ALWAYS be suspicious of emails that include links to verify personal, financial, and account-related information. Never click the links if you’re unsure.
- Does the email contain strange or unexpected attachments?
The best policy when receiving attachments in email that you weren’t expecting is to refrain from downloading files or clicking on a link to download unless you trust the source. These “downloads” can contain malicious material that may infect your computer.
Still have questions? We’re happy to help. Our HelpDesk is staffed 6am-midnight, seven days a week. Give us a call at 563-263-2631.