Phishing Scams: How to Spot Suspicious Emails
By the end of 2020, the U.S. had 2.2 million fraud reports. Fraud losses totaled $3.3 billion. And 15% of the fraud was through email. We give our email addresses online, in stores and over the phone. By doing so, we could be making ourselves vulnerable to fraud and identity theft. Email providers have spam filters in place, but good phishing emails can be difficult to identify. Meaning, those pesky phishing emails may still find their way to your inbox. Keep reading to learn what phishing is and how to avoid the scams.
Those suspicious emails are called phishing (pronounced fishing). Phishing is when a person or group tries to steal your financial or personal info through “social engineering techniques.” These include emails, vhishing (voice/phone call phishing), smishing (instant message or text phishing), social media campaigns or even in-person visits. Phishing emails look like they’re from a company you know or trust, and usually have a convincing tale to trick you into opening a link or attachment. What’s in it for them? They want your personal information to get access to your email, bank and other accounts.
Per the Federal Trade Commission, fake stories could include:
We’re all at risk of falling for the lure especially with phishers getting smarter and more daring with their tactics. With easy access to your phone, there isn’t much we can’t or don’t do online. And with the pandemic aftermath, government tax credits and stimulus checks, unemployment claims and more, cyber fraudsters have plenty to work with.
According to a 2021 Verizon report:
Phishing scams can be nerve-racking. But by becoming familiar with common scams, like fraudulent hyperlinks, you could avoid becoming a victim.
Ron Shuck, Senior VP Chief Information Security Officer at CURO Financial Technologies Corp (the holding company for Speedy Cash) shared,
Most common phishing scams:
You can spot many phishing red flags before it’s too late. If something seems fishy, like a harsh demand to open an attachment, it probably is.
Most common phishing red flags:
Obviously, not every email is going to be a scam. But it’s better to be cautious than the catch. Here are some things to think about when someone or something wants your info.
Make sure you verify:
It’s very important to report a phishing email, text or other contact. Provide your experience and help combat those nasty fraudsters!
Phishing scams are a preferred way to slyly get your financial and sensitive info. Be extra cautious of personal info requests and suspicious downloads. And watch for misspellings, demanding requests and skeptical winnings claims to avoid being caught in a phishing trap.
The information included in this article was reviewed and approved by Ron Shuck Senior VP, Chief Information Security Officer at CURO Financial Technologies Corp.
Staff. (2021, February). Federal Trade Commission. Consumer Sentinel Network. Data Book 2020. Retrieved from: https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/reports/consumer-sentinel-network-data-book-2020/csn_annual_data_book_2020.pdf ↩︎
Staff. (n.d.). Report Phishing Sites. Retrieved from: https://us-cert.cisa.gov/report-phishing ↩︎
Staff. (2019, May). How To Recognize and Avoid Phishing Scams. Retrieved from: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/how-recognize-and-avoid-phishing-scams ↩︎
Staff. (2021). Data Breach Investigations Report. Results and Analysis. Retrieved from: https://www.verizon.com/business/resources/reports/dbir/2021/results-and-analysis/ ↩︎