email phishing scams

Phishing: How to Avoid Email Scams

Protecting your business online is crucial, and learning how to recognize and avoid phishing attacks is an important part of your online security strategy. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t know how to spot phishing emails—or even what they are in the first place.

Read on to learn more about protecting your business from phishing attempts.

What Is Phishing? 

Phishing is a method of online attack that involves using malicious websites or emails to download malware and viruses onto your computer. It is called phishing because the emails are used as bait to get you to click a link and allow access so malware can be downloaded. 

These emails often claim to come from a trusted business or individual. They can look very convincing, leading people to disclose personal information. If you click a link on a phishing email, malware that allows access to your computer may be downloaded. This is bad news for businesses, as one employee can allow hackers to gain access to your systems.

In some cases, phishing attacks are designed to trick you into handing over personal data and information, like passwords. This then gives people access to other accounts and allows them to commit crimes like fraud or identity theft. 

Recognizing Phishing Emails 

There are several signs that can help you recognize a phishing email. First, look at the address it was sent from. It’s unlikely that large organizations will use a public email domain, like Gmail or Hotmail. If an email comes from an address on these platforms, that’s suspicious. Phishers may also use slightly misspelled domain names that you may not notice at first glance, such as @ instead of 

If you are unsure, look at other emails you’ve received from that company. See if the domain they used previously matches the address being used.

Spelling and grammar errors are another sign that should raise suspicion. Legitimate companies generally won’t include egregious grammatical errors and strange-sounding wordings.

Finally, phishing scams often rely on a sense of urgency. They will threaten legal action, suspension of your account, etc., if you do not quickly comply with their requests. Legitimate businesses do not threaten you; be wary of any message that rushes you into taking action.

The Best Ways To Protect Yourself 

Update Antivirus Software 

If you do accidentally click on a malicious link, it’s important that you have antivirus software in place to protect your computer and identify any malware. When you are looking for virus protection programs, consider using anti-phishing software as well.

Hover Over Links 

When you are unsure about an email and you don’t know whether the link is safe, you should always hover over it with your mouse first. If the link in the email doesn’t match the link that comes up when you hover over it, it’s not a safe link. You should be particularly cautious about shortened links. This is a technique that is used to hide the true nature of the link. 

Contact Customer Service 

It can be scary when you get an email saying that you have an overdue bill or a big payment that you don’t recognize has been taken out of your account. This is the strategy that criminals use to pressure you into clicking the link. It’s much safer to contact customer service to verify the message before taking action. Call the company in question on the number listed on their verified website and ask about the email. They will soon be able to tell you if it’s legitimate or not. 

Use Multi-Factor Authentication 

Multi-factor authentication adds a layer of protection to online accounts. It requires you to use an additional authenticator to access an account. If your accounts are protected by MFA, hackers won’t be able to access your accounts even if they do discover your passwords. Most online accounts give you this option. You should use it to protect yourself in case you do accidentally give out your password. 

These are all simple but effective ways to protect yourself from phishing attacks. Method Technologies, a managed IT company in Fresno, recommends you get professional help to put the right security measures in place. When it comes to cybersecurity, working with an expert IT company is the right choice for many businesses to keep systems secure.