Tell Tale Signs of a Suspicious Email: Spam & Phishing Advice

14
Aug
Chris Thornton

Written by Chris Thornton, 14 August 2015

Spam and Phishing emails are becoming a much bigger threat to both businesses and individuals, with the senders of such emails constantly finding new ways to bypass standard protection levels.  

At Shackleton, we believe that while  anti-virus and anti-spam solutions can help in the war against suspicious and potentially dangerous emails, it is vital that all email users remain vigilant against any suspect messages that may get through a businesses firewall. Our resident expert on all things spam, Chris Thornton, gives you some things to look out for...

What to look out for...

There are some tell-tale signs to look out for and to check for when you receive an email:

Do you know the sender? 

"If not then be alert! Even if you do know the sender it’s still worth being on guard. As you can see in the examples below, just because an email's sender might seem legitimate on first inspection, spammers can use cleverly disguised or subtly changed addresses to send you unwanted emails with the sole intention of tricking you into opening them."

 

 

Is the email unexpected or does it relate to your job role? 

"It's not uncommon these days to receive an email out of the blue - but it is best practice to ask yourself these questions before you open any unexpected email:  Do you have a PayPal account linked to your business email address? Do you have a DropBox account linked to your business email address? Are you expecting a rebate from HMRC? Are you expecting a parcel from UPS? If anything seems suspicious, it might just be a phishing email."

 

Is there an attachment on the email?

"If there is an attachment on a suspicious email always double check points 1 and 2.  If you are in any doubt do not open it. Remember: UPS does not send 'additional information' in attachments and  invoices or reciepts will never be send as Word documents because they can be easily edited. If your email has an attachment that you were not expecting, be on guard."

 

Are there any links in the email? .

"If you’ve got this far and are still not sure there is one last thing to check. Links in suspicious emails can look legitimate but are not. Hover over the link in the email... if the address does not match the content of the email or shows anything different to what it should then do not click on it. I've given some examples below to show you what I mean."

 

 

Most importantly, if you are not sure it is better to be safe than sorry.  Ask a member of the IT staff!


Do you have any advice or tips on spotting spam emails? Leave us a comment below telling us what else to look out for!

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