Have you gotten emails asking you to verify your personal or account information in order to avoid suspension or closure of an account?  Or a congratulatory message just asking for some personal information so they may send you your prize….. for the contest you never entered.  Sometimes you may even end up on a website that is not safe and could lead to identity theft or fraud.  Here are some tips to look out for the next time you feel suspicious of an email or website.

  • Spelling or grammar errors
  • Threatening action (this could be closing of your account if information is not verified.)
  • Popular brand names, be aware of familiar names you see in emails make sure all spelling and the logo is accurate.  Many times Phishers will use well-known companies to attract your attention.
  • Never click a link in an email if you are unsure about the integrity of the email.  You can hover over the link provided to check if the link is a legitimate one.
  • If you are suspicious, you can read your email in plain text and that will also allow you to see if links are fake.
  • If you are at a website but are unsure if it is a safe site, enter a wrong password and if you can still get into your account, than it is a bad website.
  • Pop-ups, you have to be really careful about pop-ups make sure you do not click anything in them to be taken somewhere else and close them as soon as you can.

If you feel that you have received an email and it may be a phishing scam, you can report them right away so that you can help others avoid this mistake as well.

For Internet Explorer:  When on the site and you are unsure if it is legitimate, click on the gear icon and then Safety.  From there you will click on Report Unsafe Website.

Outlook.com (formerly Hotmail) If you are asked for any personal information such as social security number, any account number, first and last name, or birthdate, then that is a red flag!  You can click the arrow icon next to Junk and select Phishing scam.

Microsoft Office Outlook:  If you’re in an email in this situation, just click on Junk and after that click on Report Junk.

If they are using a brand or company name, you can contact that company to inform them that someone is using their name for phishing scams.

You can report this scam to FTC, the Federal Trade Commission

Contact the APWG, Anti-Phishing Working Group



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About The Author

Here to help our fellow geeksters and make all the tech talk easy to understand. There is so much out there to see, I hope to share it with all our geeksters.

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