What does an email scam looks like?

By September 29, 2015NEWS
Faceless character with black gloves doing password hacking online within the mainframe

Email Scams are becoming a more common occurrence by the day, there are a few key areas that should be consider to help avoid becoming the next victim of an Email Scam.

Bad Emails

In our experience, one of the most “popular” ways that end users get computer viruses is not via dodgy websites, not by infected USB keys, but through email. Usually, just clicking on an email isn’t enough to get yourself in trouble, but once you’re there, you’re only a step away from opening a rogue attachment, or clicking on a dangerous link.

Social Engineering

When implemented correctly, security systems can keep you safe. Against a firewall, a good antivirus, and some common sense, it is very hard for a hacker to make headway. This is when they start being sneaky about how infect your computer. Social engineering is all about tricking the user into clicking on a link, or opening an attachment, bypassing the firewall and antivirus. There are several common factors to emails that social engineers create.

  • Strange “From” addresses.
  • Bad grammar or punctuation.
  • Obscured links.

If an email claims to be from Australia Post, or ANZ, for example, check the “From” field at the top of the email. In the picture example, the From field:

phishingThe “From” address contains a false domain! It’s “azn”, not “anz”. The email is a fake. Also note the subject line. An official email would have a more professional subject line.

iTunesScam2 Seen here in yellow, are examples of grammatical errors. If the email were actually from Apple, these sorts of errors would not exist.

paypal_scam_link

 This supposed PayPal email has a link embedded in it. If you hovered over the link, it would display where the link leads to. If the URL does not look normal, then it most likely is unsafe! The golden rule: Never click on a link in an email. 

Knowledge Is Power

If you find yourself questioning whether or not an email is phishing for your personal details, ask yourself this question: “What is it that a scammer wants?” The answer you come up with is most likely personal information, or cash. Then ask yourself if this specific email is after either of those two things. If the answer is yes, then you know it’s time to be on guard. Generally, a scammer will use the social engineering methods outlined above in an attempt to get these things.

A final piece of advice would be this: “If you’re unsure, delete it.” It’s that simple.