Phishing is a technique used to gain personal information for the purposes of identity theft. More often than not, fraudsters send fake emails which mimic those of trusted companies, so that you’re tricked into disclosing valuable information such as your passwords and bank details.

Phishing emails may look quite authentic, featuring corporate logos and formats similar to the ones used for legitimate emails.  Usually, these emails ask for verification of certain information, such as bank account details or passport information which is allegedly needed for auditing purposes. Due to the fact that some phishing emails are so well written, some unsuspecting recipients may give enter their personal information, which can consequently cause financial loss and identity theft.

Tips on how you can avoid phishing scams: Note the language Used in the email

Fraudsters often include threats which will try and get you to react immediately. Emails threatening to close your account or stating that urgent action is required, are often sent by fraudsters who want you to think your security information is at risk.

Check the email for bad spelling and grammar

Most professional companies have editors who will thoroughly check mass emails for any spelling and grammatical errors before they’re sent to their customers and clients.  If you receive an email with spelling and grammar errors, it is likely you have received a phishing email.

Determine whether the greeting is generic or personal

Companies such as banks, online shopping companies and services often address emails with a personal greeting. Phishing emails are usually sent out on mass and therefore the email will most likely have a generic greeting such as “Dear member” or “Dear customer”

Check the sender’s address

Sometimes phishing emails will look professional until you look at the sender’s address. If the sender address does not match the corporation that emailed you, it is most likely to be a scam.

Don’t click on any links

Links on a phishing emails can look extremely similar to those of a company’s legitimate website. If you are unsure of the legitimacy of a link, don’t click on it. Instead, hover your mouse over the URL and see if the URL matches the real web address (which will come up in a yellow box under the link), if they don’t match, its likely to be a malicious email.

Use common sense

It seems like an obvious tip, but sometimes receiving an email asking for urgent action can cause unnecessary panic. If you receive an email asking for details from a service or company you don’t use, delete the email immediately.

Hayden McMaster