At AccuTitle, we want our customers, partners, and friends in the industry to be confident when receiving communications. With SPAM and Phishing Scams on the rise, what may seem like an email sent by a trusted source, could be a disguised attempt to collect sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and financial details. What is SPAM? SPAM, also known as Junk Mail, is the attempt to sell products and commercial goods to a bulk list of emails that would not normally express interest in those services. While much less malicious in nature than Phishing scams, SPAM is almost always unsolicited. Thanks to the CAN-SPAM Act of 2013, opt-out options have been mandated allowing the recipient to unsubscribe from these emails. The CAN-SPAM Act Compliance Guide can be found here. What is Phishing? Phishing is a malevolent and fraudulent attempt to send emails under the guise of being from reputable sources to obtain an individual’s personal information (Oxford Languages Dictionary). Through tactics like link manipulation, sender fraud, and fake websites, cybercriminals attempt to trick the recipient into compromising their cyber-safety. Phishing scams can be obvious to pinpoint at times, but hackers are becoming more and more talented at pretending to be reliable sources, resulting in some of the world’s largest data breaches each year. Luckily, there are ways to identify when an email is fake or harmful. Here are a few tips to help identify these false emails and protect yourself and your company’s data:
- Evaluate the sender – Examine the email address of the sender and ask yourself these questions:
- Do you recognize this email address?
- Is the address a verified source?
- Does the domain name make sense, or does it have odd characters and misspelled words?
- Read the email – Carefully read the content in the email to determine if this were a message you would normally receive. If there are any grammatical errors or the content does not make sense, then that could be an indicator that something isn’t right. Some phishing attempts will go as far as pretending to be someone you know or email with regularly. Check the email signature to make sure the person’s contact information is up to date and accurate.
- Think before you click! – Do NOT click on a link or download a document if you are not entirely positive you trust the source of the email. Hover over the link to see if it directs you to a page you recognize. A lot of cybercriminals will direct you to a spoofed site designed to look like the real thing.
- Do not submit user or login information – If an email is asking you to click on a link to submit user information, requesting a software update, or a password change that should ring some warning bells. To double-check if this is a legitimate request, go to your login page and submit your credential the way you normally would, or contact the organization from which the email came from.