Cyber criminals are exploiting headlines and global panic around the COVID-19 pandemic. Exercise caution with any emails containing a COVID-19 related subject line, attachment, or hyperlinks. Below are 6 tips to help you identify and avoid COVID-19 themed phishing scams.
1. Look for overly generic greetings
Examine the email for generic greetings such as “Hi Dear” or “Dear Valued Customer”. If you have an existing account with the business you believe to be contacting you, it probably wouldn’t use a generic greeting such as this. In the above COVID-19 phishing email example, the email is addressed to “All”.
2. Examine the sender email address
Phishing emails may look like they are from a company or person you know or trust. The first part of the email address may appear to be legitimate, but the last part might be off by letter or may include a number in the usual domain.
3. Carefully check all links
You can inspect a link by hovering your mouse button over the link to see if the destination matches where the email implies you will be taken. This may be obvious in some cases, but keep in mind that cybercriminals can create links that closely resemble legitimate URLs.
4. Look for urgency or emails that demand you act now
Phishing emails often try to create a sense of urgency or demand immediate action. Beware of subject lines that includes messages such as “your account has been suspended/deactivated” or “urgent payment request”.
5. Watch for misspellings, incorrect grammar, and odd phrasing
Read emails carefully and check for spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors. Legitimate messages usually do not have major spelling mistakes or poor grammar, so these likely indications that you have received a malicious email.
6. Beware of requests for personal or company confidential information
Coronavirus-themed emails that request personal information such as your social security number or credentials are likely phishing scams. Legitimate companies and government agencies will not request this information. It is best security practice never to respond to these emails with your personal data.
Aligned Technology Solutions is here to help! We are committed to providing safe and secure email and internet usage for our clients, partners and their users. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.