Gone phishing: How to stop spam emails

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Phishing emails are essentially designed to coax out of you private information about yourself, your company or a third party.
Phishing emails are essentially designed to coax out of you private information about yourself, your company or a third party.

Part of having an email address is the understanding that you will receive unsolicited messages.

We tend to categorise these as either legitimate or spam.

Spam however is not always as innocent as trying to sell you something.

One of the more sinister types of unwanted emails are what we call phishing emails.

These are essentially designed to coax out of you private information about yourself, your company or a third party.

A great example of a phishing email that most people have experienced is the “unknown inheritance” version.

This is generally a long lost Nigerian prince or oil tycoon who has passed away and left everything to you if you can only provide them with some personal details to aid the transfer.

Most of us by now have built up a bit of an immune system to these more basic messages, however the con-artists are getting smarter.

Where once the scammers tried to get all info out of you in one go, now they are being more patient and even combining methods.

The first email may be designed to find out your position at your company.

A simple response will suffice as most of us have name; position and phone number.

A follow up call may request your date of birth before proceeding with the call. After receiving these pieces of data, it is far easier to Phish an employee at work with the scammer pretending to be you over email.

How do we prevent phishing?

Well start by avoiding clicking links in emails.

Secondly don’t stress about people having your position and phone number, a good google will likely reveal this. Finally, just be aware of email requests that appear strange.

If you are ever unsure of a request from an email simply follow up with a good old fashion phone call.

Particularly if it is your boss wanting to do a quick transfer of funds to an unknown bank account.

A call to confirm it is legitimate takes no time at all.

Have you been scammed? Scamwatch gives more information about how you can report a scam here.

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