Use These Timely Tips to Detect Fraudulent, Dangerous Emails
To minimize the number of risks you take while dealing with your daily email, here are a few tricks and tips to follow to keep your inbox a safe place
11:49 13 November 2020
The average person gets 121 of them a day between their job and their personal life. That’s about one every 12 minutes if you’re counting at home. By the end of 2019, there were 4.4 billion email users across the entire world, about 56% of our global population.
This astonishing amount of received messages is part of the reason that so many cybercriminals use email strategies to try and hack their way into your system or steal your personal information - you get so many emails in one day that it’s easy to click on the wrong one or accidentally open something you shouldn’t.
This should be a no-brainer, but millions of people leave their phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops completely exposed to any sort of malware that might slide onto your system at any time. Most mail services have their own antivirus scanners and databases and will quickly stuff likely suspects into your spam folder, but those are hardly failsafe. Do the research and invest in the best choice for your situation with an antivirus app or solution such as Bitdefender that keeps a constant watch on your system for intruders.
Know Your Senders
When you get a suspicious-looking email, the first thing you should do is see who sent it. If it’s not someone who regularly sends you emails or is not in your address book, that is your first red flag. Before you open the email and definitely before you click any links or attachments inside, click on the part of the preview that shows who the message is from and sees what email address is behind it. Unless it’s obviously from a company you deal with frequently, it’s very likely a spam message and needs to be eliminated immediately. You can also make a filter inside of your inbox that will block that particular email address from being able to send you further messages.
Links and Attachments
Attachments that you have to download used to be commonplace when sending emails, but they are a real rarity today. Most email services can show you a preview of attached files like word documents, pictures, videos, or PDFs. So if the preview is not showing up, it’s likely something that your computer does not really need. If you have strong antivirus software in place if will flag downloads and in some cases even scan them for malicious files. But do not rely on the software to do the job for you. The human response is still the best one and needs to be a primary part of your defense system. If you have an email with an attachment from a known source, give them a quick call, text, or direct message to ask if they really sent it.
Sometimes people’s email accounts get infected without them even realizing it until someone points it out. Links are even more dangerous. They can mask themselves as legitimate then take you to a website that tries to steal your credentials for an account or injects malware into your system without you even realizing it. If you are questioning a link, go to the website of the company that is supposedly sending it and see if you can find the same information there. If not contact them and let them know they are being scammed.