At one time or another, most of us have come across a phishing scam. This is an attempt by a cybercriminal to trick you into revealing your personal information by sending convincing-looking emails, texts, voicemails and direct messages that appear to be from a legitimate organization. Often, it’s easy to spot a fraudulent message – but not always.
As October is Cyber Security Awareness Month, we thought we would ask Caisse’s resident cybersecurity expert, David Rheault, to share his list of ‘Red Flags’ to help us become a little wiser.
Whether at work or home, when it comes to email safety: Think before you click. Especially if…
1. The ‘FROM’ looks off
The email is from someone who is not an acquaintance and/or the sender’s email address is from an odd-looking domain. (For example, @domain.ca is @dornain.ca, it’s an easy oversight!)
2. The ‘TO’ strikes you as weird
You’ve received an email that was also sent to an unusual group of people. That should have you asking yourself – is this legit? Why am I being lumped into this group?
3. The ‘Hyperlink’s‘ text and copy don’t match
When you hover your mouse over a hyperlink that’s highlighted in the email message, the link appears for a different website than is advertised.
Here’s an example:
4. The ‘Date or Time’ is bizarre
Did you receive an email you normally would get during the day, but it was sent at an unusual time, like 3 a.m.? It may be legitimate; however, you may want to take a pause.
5. The ‘Subject’ line has extra info
Do you see a little RE: or FW: in the email subject line however you have no recollection of ever having seen this before? That is suspicious.
6. There’s an unexpected attachment
You notice an attachment with a possibly dangerous file extension, like .html, that you weren’t expecting. Think twice about clicking on it.
7. The ‘Content‘ has grammatical errors
Another sign that you’re dealing with a fraudulent email is that it has bad grammar or spelling errors.
8. Someone is playing the THIS IS URGENT card
The email has a sense of urgency, requiring action to ensure you don’t lose money, account access, or important information (data, voicemails or emails). There is also a popular scam where someone is pretending to be your C.E.O. and asks you to buy gift cards. Be wary of this!
These signs don’t necessarily mean the email is fraudulent. Still, they should be cause for reflection. If you’re still unsure, consider asking a colleague or a friend for a second opinion before responding, or clicking on a link or an attachment.
Keep these Red Flags in mind to protect yourself from cyber threats!