The internet is a wonderful place. You can find just about any information on any topic that you can think of. You can connect with friends and co-workers via email, social channels, video chat… the list could go on and on. While all this is well and good, the internet is not a happy-go-lucky playground. There are people out there who want to know all about you.
For starters, lets look at Email. Email scams are abundant. Below are some of the common signs that you should look for when trying to determine if an email is a scam or not.
Missing email in the To: field – lots of time scammers send out emails to massive amounts of people, not really knowing for sure who they are sending to. This is one way that this missing To: field can occurr. Always click the dropdown to see the details about who the message is from and who it was sent to!
Misspelled words are also a clue in spotting a fake email. If you already suspect an email, and it includes misspellings and simple errors, this should be a warning sign to stop and investigate further. You will also notice in the picture below that the from email and the name do not match. This is another sign that something is amiss!
More often than not, phishing emails will have some form of link included in the email. If you get a email from “your bank” telling you that you need to reset your password due to a security breach, and to do so you just need to click HERE…lookout! Scammers can fake a website quite easily, so always take a closer look at the link before you click! If you hover over a link and see that the address is different than what the link should be, do not click!
If you do happen to click on one of these links, or any link for that matter, always make sure before you log in to any site that you are on the REAL site and not a fake one. There are a few things you can look for on a website to help ascertain if it is real or not.
First off, any reputable site online that asks you to log in will be secured using HTTPS. You can look for this in your browsers navigation bar. Many browsers will show a lock symbol or have a bright green HTTPS at the beginning of the website address. Here is the secure sign on page for SU email. As you can see, there is a green lock and green https: at the top.
Now scammers can easily fake what the website looks like, but they may not be able to fake that address at the top. Always look at the address bar to make sure you are on the site you actually should be on. Look out for random characters or phrases that do not match the website. Here is an example.
Sometimes, even if you are the safest person in the world, you end up on a legitimate site that itself was compromised and spams you while you are on the page. For these types of scams and spam, you may think that all is well and that downloads are to be trusted b/c this site is a good site. Not so fast! Check out this video about a hack that caused popular video site, dailymotion, to push spam to everyone who stopped by the site! Always pay attention to any popup that asks you to download or install any software. If you have any doubts whatsoever, call the help desk